What Do Millennials Value Most?

May 9, 2018 – Sam Mesquita joined Scottsdale, AZ-based executive search firm Govig & Associates last May as marketing communications coordinator. He’s 23. In his role, he manages marketing and branding. He describes himself as a ‘passionate creative’ who loves communications strategy. Anything that falls under the umbrella of marketing, he manages.

As a Millennial working in a fast-paced business, Mr. Mesquita offers up some first-hand knowledge of what makes his generation tick. Following are excerpts from a recent interview conducted with Hunt Scanlon Media.

Sam, what would you say is more important to a Millennial worker, a big paycheck or a meaningful environment where you feel like a valuable member of a team?

While I cannot speak for all Millennials, I would say that for me, feeling like a valued member of the team comes first. Making a sizable paycheck is fantastic, but not if it means feeling unvalued or disliking the job. At the end of the day, if you lack passion and purpose, all the money in the world will not change your feelings towards your career. Being valued should come first, and if you are truly valued, money will follow suit. I would argue that for most people, not just the Millennial generation, money has never been the singular factor that makes a career choice ‘enough.’ There have always been multiple factors in the equation, such as culture fit and career itself. I have read multiple management reports and studies that have shown how an increase in employee pay provides only temporary satisfaction. For me, being valued is important, but I also strive to offer value. I am passionate about my career and my line of work. Seeing my work make a difference elicits a much stronger feeling (for me) than money will. With money, there may be temporary moments of increased happiness due to a raise or high salary, but it is not ultimately sustainable if the career itself is the cause of unhappiness. My advice to my fellow Millennials would be, see where you add value, and cultivate your experience in that practice. Focus on what you love and learn how to be the best in the room. Changing careers is not negative, but doing it too often does not allow you to become a master at your craft.

With an overwhelming amount of ready-to-work Millennials entering the workforce, why is mentorship so important to this demographic group?

Mentorship is important because it creates a unique opportunity to learn from those who have successfully developed themselves within their area of expertise. Many ready-to-work Millennials are not as well prepared for a full-time career as they assume they are. Mentorship provides valuable insight from individuals who have put in the blood, sweat, and tears to successfully position them selves as leaders. It is important for Millennials to take coaching and constructive criticism without taking it personally. Receiving feedback and coaching is not intended to tear you down, but make you better. Everyone has room for improvement. I would also state that mentorship is a unique opportunity to form a long-lasting relationship with another individual, either on a personal or professional level, or both. This bond can create a lasting impact on the lives of both the mentor and mentee.

Studies have shown that most Millennials will hold four to six jobs by the time they’re out of their twenties. What can companies do to retain Millennials for longer periods of time?

To retain Millennials, I recommend considering the rule of the ‘Three C’s,’ which are culture, compensation, and career opportunity. Culture has become a main factor in the employment industry, and most Millennials are attracted to cultures that align with their values and personality. We spend more time at work than anywhere else, so our work environment should be one that allows everyone to be successful. Secondly, compensation is an important consideration. With Millennial students graduating from university with what seems to be insurmountable debt, it is important to have financial security. In my opinion, this means making a salary that will allow you to pay back student debt, move out of your parents’ home, begin saving/investing for the future and provide yourself with basic needs such as food and clothing. It is ultimately up to the individual on how to effectively handle their income, but their wage should be competitive enough to allow some flexibility. Finally, a lot of Millennials view a company through the lens of long-term career opportunities. Will there be room for upward mobility? Will there eventually be a ceiling where you can no longer grow? Have you been offered all the tools you need to be at the peak of your career? These are all questions I have personally asked myself when seeking a career opportunity. I would argue that if companies consider these tactics when trying to retain (and attract) Millennial employees, they may see higher tenure across the board.

What have you found to be the most efficient way to keep an active relationship with Baby Boomers?

I suggest getting to know them and being adaptive. Regardless of generation, everyone has a different personality style, work ethic and demeanor. With Baby Boomers, it is important to adapt your style of communication to align with them and learn how to adapt your behavior appropriately. Some colleagues are comfortable with me walking up to their desk at any given time, while others prefer a more formal approach such as scheduling a meeting. While this might seem tedious, it makes a world of difference in my interactions with my coworkers. Lastly, the ‘golden rule’ has never lost its relevance. Baby Boomers (like most people) want to be treated with respect. Give everyone, regardless of generation, respect, and it will foster a healthy relationship.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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