How the Generations Behave – Part Two


As we discussed in Part One, Cam Marsten of Generational Insights was a guest speaker at Crawford & Company’s recent Board of Directors retreat in Charleston, South Carolina.  Here is Cam’s take on how Millenials behave as workers and consumers. 

Millennials in the Workplace:

Millennials are now entering the workforce in large numbers. While they are at the beginning of their career arc, they are the second largest generation and a significant proportion of new employees.

As Millennials join the working world, they leave behind environments created to cater to their needs, be it the family home or the college dorm. As a result, many are coming to the office with high expectations for customization and accommodation.

What Millennial Employees Want:

  • Access – Want open, constant communication and positive reinforcement from their bosses. Want regular opportunities for advancement and growth.
  • Meaning – Desire a job that provides some kind of personal fulfillment or “makes a difference.”
  • Education and Training – Millennials are the most educated generation in U.S. history, earning more degrees than those that came before. They want more opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Technology – Millennials lead the way in technology use. Over 90% of them use social networking and texting; they’re the leading buyers of smartphones. Millennials press for the “latest” or for “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device to work) policies to satisfy their technoholism.
  • Issues and Causes – Millennials are the most likely to buy something for a “cause,” to volunteer, and to seek work with “meaning.” Environmental and social responsibility issues top the list.
  • Casual – Millennials dress down, sometimes to an inappropriate level. Their language can be as casual as their dress. Their favored schedule is a flexible one.

Millennials in the Marketplace

The Millennial generation is already reshaping the marketplace and will continue to do so for years to come. While they are at the beginning of their earning curve, they are the largest generational cohort and their spending power is approaching $1.5 trillion per year. In some markets, like small consumer electronics, they are already dominant.

What Millennial Consumers Want:

  • Speed – Millennials are notoriously impatient. Communicate to Millennials that your product or service can be accessed instantly, has an immediate application and offers instant gratification.
  • Authenticity –Disclose all the relevant information. They will look up what you tell them on the Internet to see if it is true. Do not try to be young, quirky, or hip unless you are young, quirky, and hip. Be yourself, be natural, be straightforward, and, at the same time, communicate to them that you understand them and can help them get what they want.
  • Freebies –Give them something for free, or close to free, if at all possible. Offer a free sample or a free session or a steep discount. Enable them to access or try your product or service without financial obligation. Offer the first item for one dollar. They are attracted to the prospect of something for nothing.
  • Hi-tech – Update your web to help Millennials research and find your products and services. Maintain a Facebook page and a Twitter feed for your business. Offer coupons, promotions, and updates via text message. Post You-Tube videos that tout your business, products, or services. Offer free wireless access in your place of business. Millennials expect it to be everywhere.
  • Custom – Millennials prefer unique and customized products. In some cases, you may be able to offer a standard product that is slightly customized in some way. Or, you may be able to build a solution just for them. Marketers and advertisers target Millennials with phrases such as “personally yours,” “make it your own,” and “as special as you are.”

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