Getting to know the Millennial mind is a popular topic of interest these days. It is no surprise to me that my generation is trending – we’re fascinating. Or at least, you expect me to say something like that because according to recent studies, Millennials are narcissistic and entitled.
In fact, the Millennial generation is the fastest growing group entering the business world. By 2020, nearly 50% of the U.S workforce will consist of Millennials, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another study predicts nearly 75% by 2025. In Canada, the forecasts are 75% by the year 2028. One issue that has become clear over the years is the students’ gradually shorter intended duration of stay at their chosen company upon graduation. Ninety-one percent of Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay at one job for less than 3 years. So, how do law firms avoid a human resources nightmare? It is crucial nowadays to first understand us, and then to know how to provide a positive working environment for people between the ages of 18-34.
When I thought about where I wanted to work, it never occurred to me to search first for jobs at large scale corporations that have been around for years which might look fancy on my resume. I was looking for a real world experience, to learn new skills, and to make a difference. When I researched companies in Vancouver, I wanted to be able to tell right away what it was that I could learn from my experience at that firm, and in what way I could add value and in turn make a difference. I wasn’t looking to be making photo copies and fetching coffee. After all, that’s why we pay for a university education, right?
What do I value about my company culture? Well, for starters we have an office puppy. Yes, an office puppy. Her name is Ashley, and we get along swimmingly (when I give her cookies out of the bottomless office cookie jar). Am I suggesting that you stop by the nearest pet store or SPCA to make your Millennials happy? Not exactly. I’m asking you to think outside of the box (or the kennel). When I arrive to work in the morning there is always real marketing consulting work to be done. I get to collaborate with the graphic designers, brainstorm marketing strategies, create campaigns with the directors, and analyze different companies and create my own recommendations. I get to listen to my music at my desk and put my ideas on whiteboard walls around the office. Did I mention the bottomless office cookie jar?
So what are some attributes of Millennials that will affect their role at your firm?
- Tech savvy
- Seek work-life balance
- Question authority and seek meaningful careers with a team-oriented environment
- Problem-solving involves more technology and social media than ever before, and it can be invaluable for getting relevant information faster
- Typically confident and self-assured, but not afraid to express self-doubt, occasional anger and disappointment
- Not afraid to reach out to others for guidance
- Value learning and experience
- Expected to be nurtured in the workplace, not necessarily with competitive pay, but with challenging experiences
- In constant communication with the world, so we expect you to be too. Responding to our emails over a day later is questionable to us
Here’s how you can provide a favourable working environment for Gen Y:
- There needs to be more emphasis on technology and a desire to test innovative ways it can be used to improve processes for your law firm and your clients. Let your Millennials discover new online tools for you. Or better yet, give them the opportunity to use different technologies to provide efficiencies for clients.
- You need to invest more time into creating and embracing your internal culture. Your firm may be used to traditional professional practices, but with the growing trend in casual dress codes and flexible work hours, some exceptions might need to be made. Casual Friday’s just aren’t enough for us anymore.
- Challenge your Millennials! Believe it or not, you can learn a thing or two from the younger generation. Let us wow you with our knowledge of social media. Give us projects (with the necessary guidance) that might be new to us. We want to learn how to do new tasks, and it doesn’t take us long to get the job done.
How do we add value to your firm?
To name just a couple of reasons:
- Your goal is to bring in new clients and create relationships with them that will be maintained over their lifetime. Attracting clients involves getting to know who they are and what they value from you as a law firm. As Generation X and Generation Y become your clients, who better to have on your team than the demographic themselves?
- Who do you think is in charge of the large and still growing startup scene? There is an opportunity to tap into new markets such as this with people who speak fluent Millennial on your team.
- We bring fresh perspectives and different ways to tackle daily challenges. Think about it this way, if two heads are better than one, then wouldn’t it be beneficial to manage a large group of people who all think differently and for themselves?
Keep an eye out for part 2 of this blog post: the Millennial Client.
Photo by bplanet.