(Originally posted in Louisiana Job Connection)

Though we may not want to face the facts, time is passing, and we are all getting older. This shift is reflected in today’s workforce as baby boomers—now ranging from 55 to 76 —are retired, in the midst of retiring, or serving in management positions as they move steadily toward ending their careers. Many Gen Xers—ages 41 to 54 —have moved into leadership positions. Millennials, who were once the new, fresh-faced entrants to the workforce are 26 – 40 years old, the majority of which are over a decade into their careers. With a sizeable portion of the workforce set to retire in the next decade, there is focus by most forward-thinking companies to create a succession plan that includes moving millennials into leadership positions whether that’s hiring from outside the company or promoting from within.

As millennials make up a growing part of the workforce, understanding what excites and motivates them at work is increasingly important. While a few things have changed, most have remained the same with this generation.

So what matters most to millennials in their professional lives?

The two biggest factors that lead to job satisfaction are the chance to tackle challenges and a good work/life balance. Millennials have been raised to believe they can achieve anything, and they’re motivated by possibility and professional confidence. At the same time, they recognize the importance of keeping a healthy lifestyle and balancing personal and social priorities with professional ones.

Things to keep in mind when recruiting millennial professionals

Millennials need their jobs to mean something

Unlike many in past generations who were satisfied by merely putting in their time from 9 to 5, the millennial workforce looks for a higher purpose in their jobs. Working simply for the sake of work is no longer an option for a generation used to instant gratification. They’re driven by opportunities to provide community service, help people in need, invent new things and generally make their mark on the world. Providing them with meaningful projects inspires them to work hard. For this reason, millennials tend to thrive in positions where there are clear goals and milestones tied to relevant payoffs.

They expect freedom

And unlike their parents’ generation, millennials don’t necessarily expect to be held accountable for their every move during rigid work hours. They like flexibility and freedom and appreciate the option to work from home or away from the office.

More than any generation before them, millennials are motivated by concrete rewards

Millennials are ambitious, and they want to see the results of their hard work, whether it be the success of a project or a personal promotion.

Millennials are social

More specifically, various social media platforms are ingrained in their lives and they spend a considerable amount of time plugged in each day. For this reason, it is imperative to make sure you have a solid digital presence.

Millennials like praise

While they respond well to tangible rewards like promotions, raises and perks, they also shine when given verbal acknowledgment and public recognition. They want to be recognized for their hard work.

Consistencies across all generations: there’s more in common than you think

While millennials do have specific traits that companies can key upon to help with their recruitment—think digital connection and flexible work schedules—William LaBar, vice president of IT and business consulting services leader CGI in Lafayette, sees many consistencies across all generations. These shared values across the workforce is why CGI focuses on a comprehensive value proposition to show all potential employees why it is the company of choice.

“Beyond the competitive compensation and solid benefits, there are a number of cultural elements we offer that attract employees who are the best fit for CGI,” said LaBar. “One primary example of this is that we offer ownership over your career path and seek out people that thrive in an environment that empowers them to define their trajectory through our company.”

LaBar agrees that millennials are indeed looking for more than a paycheck, but sees this trait in both Generation X and Generation Z, the latter of which is just beginning to enter the workforce. “CGI performs work for a large variety of commercial and government clients and when we trace that work back to those client missions, our employees can see and value that the work they do is making a difference in the world,” he said. “Across generations, people also join our team because they see that we’ve made giving back to the community a part of our company values. People want to be a part of what we’re doing on a local level.”

Ultimately, while changing your company policies to include more flexibility and maintaining a better digital presence may allow you to hone in on the millennial market, LaBar suggests examining your culture to see if you are showcasing a comprehensive value proposition that will attract talent that not only has the right skillsets but candidates that are aligned with your philosophy and values. Even simple changes in approaching job candidates from the mentality of, “here’s what we are looking for” to “here’s what we can offer you” can speak volumes about your culture.

Find qualified candidates today. Post your positions on Louisiana Job Connection.