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Millennial in work
istock_yacobchuk

Millennials and what they want

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3rd Aug 2017
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With all the recent changes in the accountancy profession - auto enrolment, FRS 102 and Making Tax Digital - it’s easy to have missed the change that has happened right under our nose: millennials.

The next generation born between 1980 and 2000 are now in full flow within accountancy and they have different ideas, wants and needs. 

Unlike the generation before (gen X, born 1965 to 1979), where a steady job with promotion prospects, health insurance and a company car were a great reward, millennials want the workplace to be different for them to stick around and really enjoy work.

More importantly, 75% of the global workforce will be millennials by 2025 Accountants such as Will Farnell have changed their business models to not just remain relevant for millennials in his workforce, but for the vast amount of clients who will be millennial by 2025.

“[Millennial clients] have completely different expectations to the traditional accountant’s offering and it’s much more than just adopting technology,” Farnell told IRIS

So what is important to them and what can you do to recruit and, more importantly, keep millennials in your accountancy team?

Here are four top values of millennials with suggestions to enhance these in your workplace.

Community

Millennials prefer a team work environment. A place where support and appreciation are part of the culture and their personal values are shared by the business.

It’s also important to have access to training and development to enable opportunities for career progression and personal growth.

To enhance your community you can work with your team to develop your core values, the things that you and the firm stand for and believe in, create mentor relationships between the Millennials and non-millennials in your team so they can mentor each other and ensure the team still has face to face interaction.

Also, once a week, say thank you for the work they are doing and be prepared that you are creating future leaders who will eventually leave.

Wellness

One of the biggest concerns for millennials is work/life balance and within that is wellness. It’s a daily pursuit. They exercise more, eat better and smoke less than previous generations.

For them to be and do their best they need to be feeling at their best. Not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

To help promote a culture of wellness at work you can dedicate a room as a quiet room for mindfulness, provide a workplace gym or gym membership, or have fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts as snacks available in the kitchen.

Flexibility

Another key part of work/life balance for millennials is being able to work when and where they want. They focus on results, the output, instead of the input. They believe that as long as they deliver the results it doesn’t matter what time of day or in which location they get the work done.

You can introduce flexitime and work from home days but only as long as the expected results are met, which will need to be agreed in advance. Or go full blown with the rule that as long as the work was completed by the deadline, which is agreed with the team and the client, then the team can do the work when and where they want.

Technology

Millennials have grown up with video games, the internet and smartphones. It’s a big part of everyday life to be online and use technology - communicate on social media, stream music and film, shopping - so it makes sense they want their workplace to give the same comfort and benefits.

The ideal solution is cloud technology, which is abundant in accountancy and using other apps such as Slack to communicate with your team instead of using email. You can empower your team to use social media for the benefit of the business too, with guidance on how to use it.

It goes without saying that technology is essential to give your team full flexibility.

But are millennials really all that different from everyone else?

Let me know in the comments what you have already done or will do in your accountancy business to recruit and retain millennials?

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