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7 Things You (Probably) Don’t Realize About Your Millennial Employees (Forbes)

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By Kathryn Dill ,  FORBES STAFF

Click here to view Original Article from Forbes.

Today’s news that one third of Goldman Sachs’ new class of managing directors are Millenials has everyone talking about this mysterious generation. If you’re a manager today, you probably oversee a number of employees from the Millennial generation. If you work at a startup–or even a behemoth like Goldman–you might have a Millennial boss.

Either way, it’s very likely you don’t understand how best to recruit, retain, and steer Millenials–and soon they’ll be most of your workforce.

In order to better understand the strengths, desires, and motivations of this generation, global research and advisory firm Universum and the INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute (EMI) surveyed more than 16,000 Millennials around the world last year.

Their conclusion? This group, which will soon make up the majority of employees the world over, is inherently misunderstood by managers.

“It’s extremely important that employers pay attention to the Millennial generation,” said Lars Zander, Universum global CMO, “since in only 10 years they will be 75% of the workforce, compared to only 25% today.”

Vinika D.Rao, executive director of INSEAD EMI added, “The availability of trained and committed talent continues to be among the major impediments to doing business in emerging markets. It’s imperative to understand what influences the career decisions and leadership behavior of this much talked-about generation.”

Work-life balance is a highly-valuable form of compensation–it may even be overtaking cash.

It’s frequently reported that Millennials value work-life balance and flexibility more than previous generations. Usually, this is seen as a response to coming of age professionally in the era of smartphones: Millennials are more willing to let digital distractions into their personal lives, answering work emails during evening hours previously considered sacred, but they also want the option to work from home or on a less-rigid schedule than the ironclad 9-to-5 hours of yore.

Thus far, cash has remained king where compensation is concerned, across the generational board. But according to Universum’s research, 73% of respondents favored work-life balance over a salary bump, and an even-higher 82% placed work-life balance ahead of their place in the company hierarchy.

Millennials make choices independently, often without the counsel of family or friends.

Just 5% of Millennials surveyed said that friends “strongly influence their choices,” though respondents in Asia Pacific placed greater emphasis on the perspectives of those with whom they’re close. And friends’ opinions are actually ranked even less important the younger the Millennial: Those born closer to 1996 value friends’ input less than older members of their generation.

Ten percent of Millennials place importance on parents’ opinions. The report notes that “this highlights a disconnect between the notion of ‘helicopter parents,’ who hover over their children guiding their choices, and the impact they actually have on their children’s career decisions.”

Millennials would rather do nothing at all than something they dislike.

Forty-two percent of survey respondents “agree” or “strongly-agree” they’d rather be totally unemployed than hold a job they hate, with respondents in Chile, Lebanon, and Peru holding forth most forcefully on this point.

Additionally, 40% list their biggest fear as becoming trapped in a job with no chance for development.

Becoming a leader ranks high on the Millennial to-do list.

Forty-one percent of respondents said taking on a leadership or management role was “very” important to them. The greatest percentage of respondents, 35, said this was because of compensation, but almost as many, 31%, said their motivation was a desire for influence and an equal percentage valued the chance to play a strategic role in an organization.

Two exceptions? Nigeria and South Africa. An overwhelming average 70% of Millennials in the West African country and its neighbor to the south report that becoming a leader or manager is highly important.

They want to get ahead, but value evolution over advancement.

Roughly a quarter of respondents said they place value on getting promoted quickly and regularly, but a larger segment of those surveyed–45%–emphasize the importance of continuing to learn and develop new skills.

Millennials want different things from their managers in different parts of the world–but feedback is the universal language.

According to the report, “empowerment is valued in North America, Western Europe and Africa, whereas fairness and expertise is key in Central & Eastern Europe. Millennials in Latin America value a role model able to give advice and in the Middle East managers should have all the answers. Managers able to act as role models is an important expectation of younger Millennials and women.”

Globally, an average 26% of Millennials expect to receive weekly feedback from their manager, with 31% of North American Millennials echoing this sentiment.

They value affability and diversity.

A massive chunk of respondents–64%–ranked the friendliness of employees as the most significant element of a potential employer’s workplace culture.

Eighty-five percent define diversity as cultural diversity, and only 8% fear gender discrimination.

“Employers that are proactive and working towards understanding this generation,” said Zander, “will be ahead of the curve in the near future in understanding and attracting this group.”