Generation Y – more commonly known as ‘Millennials’ – is a generation that’s often stereotyped as lazy, self-centered, narcissistic, but in fact, it’s a generation that’s changing the workforce. Millennials have been disrupting business models and they’re actually looking for jobs that make a difference. From the usual customer-centric approach to a more employee-centric standpoint, organizations have observed that Millennials are working for a legitimate change in the global workforce today.

The employment landscape has changed drastically over the past couple of years and is expected to change further in the coming years. As we approach the Fourth Industrial Revolution where automation is inevitable, organizations are expected to prioritize the development of their employees, have good transparency between management and employees, and observe the work-life balance in order for them to keep up with the competitive market.

For Millennials, it’s more than just a competitive pay that keeps them afloat in an organization. Although a high paying job is important, there are other factors to consider that organizations should keep an eye out and take note of.

Adaptation to technology

Millennials is known to be tech-savvy. They are also early adopters to new technology . Because of it, they are a driving force behind the advances in innovation in the workforce. With constant efforts to change, Millennials have spawned several devices, apps, and new technologies that offer us convenience and flexibility – for better or worse.

Only a handful of organizations know how to capitalize on this strength. There is still a great number of leaders who do not recognize in Millennials’ capabilities of bringing efficiency and creativity to the workforce. On the other hand, there are also progressive organizations who use this tech-savvy capability to their own  advantage. 

Organizations are pairing Millennials with more experienced employees to  help create mutual learning and knowledge retention. Whereas more senior staff can teach Millennials the ropes and insights and help them navigate within the organization, the Millennials are the ones who have been innovating the workplace, bringing in the latest management tools and approaches to improve the work culture. 

Thriving for transparency

Millennials value authenticity, transparency, and democratic access. They’re also more restless than the Gen X-ers or baby boomers who came before them,” says Patricia Sellers of Fortune.

Millennials and transparency go hand in hand. They are a generation that draws flak for moving around but really, all they want is transparency in the workplace. According to Deloitte, open communication and transparency are one of the guiding factors of job satisfaction for Millennials.

Millennials do not mind how brutally honest you are. If your feedback matters to their professional growth and why they are at work, they will always take it as constructive. In meetings, Millennials value a democratic process; they prefer having meeting agenda laid out openly and being able to contribute constructively. Millennials find themselves less torelarent in hierarchical structures where they aren’t listened to or valued as their senior counterparts.  

More than the pay or free lunch

Millennials understand the importance of having a good pay and a package of benefits in a job but it doesn’t just stop there. Recently, the impact sector has attracted the interest of a fair share of Millennials, many have chosen the path of finding jobs that make a difference rather than sticking to the usual save route with good pay and benefits.

In developed economies, Millennials are anxious about their future. They are more concerned about how the world should look for their generation and for future generations. According to a recent report by Deloitte, even for-profit sector, businesses that provide opportunities for Millennials to engage in good causes such as programs that allow young professionals to be involved in some kind of social impact would result in their ‘loyalty’ to the organization in return.

Millennials have serious concerns about the direction of the world, the uncertainty of conflict, and other pressing issues that we are facing today. It is stated in the report that not only Millennials are ‘mere observers’ but also feel the need to change the world around them.

In Kenya, a survey conducted by BrighterMonday shows that working in the impact sector is a dream job for the country’s millennials. According to the Chief Executive, Emmanuel Mutuma, Millennials take pride in the impact they are creating because of the sense of purpose NGOs campaign give off.

45% of the workforce in Kenya is comprised of Millennials. They are found to change careers more often than the previous generations. If they feel like there aren’t opportunities to be found in the organization such as promotion, training, recognition, feedback, and not enough responsibilities, they leave.

Marilyn Adell, the People Director at Andela Kenya said, “[Millennials] want to work in a place that embodies who they are and their professional ambitions. Engaging this demographic on a daily basis provides with continuous feedback and lessons on how to intentionally create a culture in which they can thrive to become tomorrow’s leaders.

Pandering to work-life balance

As the world of work is changing, one of the things that we have noticed is organizations increasingly promoting remote working. Commuting can take a lot of time sacrifices the  actual work in the office. By the time everyone clocks out, you’d find yourself dreading long commute home again.

Millennials like the idea of flexibility and have the option to work from home or wherever they feel like working from. This gave birth to the coined term ‘digital nomad’ who work in co-working spaces. On the other hand, Millennials that have families would like to be able to manage their work from home where they can monitor their kids and attend to other personal responsibilities thus enabling a better work-life balance.

In a 2016 Millennial Survey by Deloitte, 11% of the generation aside from seeking jobs that make a difference, they also seek for flexible hours whether the job is from the for-profit or not-for-profit sector. The idea behind this is that they are able to control over how and when they work therefore giving them the opportunity to improve one’s morale and giving them greater autonomy of how they want their life to work out.

Some organizations have pandered to work-life balance that this is one of the perks outlined in job descriptions. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, some Millennials may not even consider a job opportunity if the job description does not offer to work remotely. Millennials believe that if they produce valuable work and great contributions without being physically in the office, then working remotely should not just be an option.

Disrupting the NGO’s ‘status quo’

Patty Hampton, Vice President and Managing Partner at Nonprofit HR said Millennials might be the “best thing that’s happened to non-profits […] causing a brilliant disruption in the status quo.” The generation offers more than valuable skill sets but the thirst for knowledge and entrepreneurial approach. It causes changes in the sector by transforming how non-for-profits operate.

They contribute their skills to jobs that make a difference and ensuring that they are involved in causes in any way they can, therefore, the impact sector is a path that Millennials would most likely choose. It is expected that the impact sector workforce is to consist of 75% of Millennials by 2025.

With technology rising, tech-savvy Millennials who are not used to traditional paper trail methods can help streamline the organization’s day-to-day process increasing speed and efficiency in the workplace. At the same time, giving this responsibility to make them feel like their job is making a difference.

Not only would Millennials choose the path where they could make a difference, but they also have high regard for organizations that prioritize social contributions, institutions that have charities or partnered with advocacy groups. Those employees who feel that their jobs have meaning exhibit greater levels of loyalty to the organization.


Millennials want the same things as previous generations do. Better pay, better benefits, better flexibility, and most importantly, having a meaningful and purpose-driven job. Regardless of the sector, It’s important to recognize and adopt this forward-thinking mindset to accommodate the changing needs of this generation to maximize their potential and that of today’s workforce.

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