Tag: millennials

What do Millennials want at work?

Analysing and interpreting Millennials is an industry in itself, but are they really as different as experts would have us believe – especially when it comes to the workplace?

Richard Andrews, MD of Inspiration Office, says, “While pointed descriptions of what makes Millennials unique are presented as self-evident, very few are supported with solid empirical research.

“On the contrary, a growing body of evidence suggests that employees of all ages are much more alike than different in their attitudes and values at work.

“If gaps do exist, they amount to small differences that have always existed between younger and older workers throughout history and have little to do with the Millennial generation.”

And there are plenty of examples as evidence.

“Even the most widely accepted stereotypes about Millennials appear to be questionable” Andrews noted, pointing to a recent study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value. The report entitled Myths, Exaggerations and Uncomfortable Truths – The real story behind Millennials in the workplace was based on a multigenerational study of 1 784 employees from companies across 12 countries and six industries. It found that about the same percentage of Millennials (25%) want to make a positive impact on their organisation as Gen Xers (21%) and Baby Boomers (23%). Differences were uniformly minimal across nine other variables as well.

A 2015 study commissioned by international business broadcaster CNBC showed similar results.

“Looking at the importance of six traits in a potential employer — ethics, environmental practices, work-life balance, profitability, diversity and reputation for hiring the best and brightest — the CNBC study found found that Millennial preferences are just about the same as the broader population on all six.

“In fact, contrary to the hard-to-please image, Millennials reported being more satisfied with the training and skills development they receive. And 76% were satisfied with their opportunities for promotion, 10 percentage points higher than the rest of the population.”

A KPMG study also showed Millennials also to also be virtually identical to their older colleagues on every measure of overall engagement such as pride in the organisation, optimism about the firm’s future and trust in leadership.

So why do so many people perceive Millennials as so different? An interesting study was carried out by researchers from George Washington University in which they reviewed 20 studies examining generational differences.

“The conclusion was that meaningful differences among generations probably do not exist in the workplace. The small differences that do appear are likely attributable to factors such as stage of life more than generational membership, “ Andrews notes.

“For example, one of the prevailing perceptions of Millennials is that they have much higher traits of narcissism. But interestingly, this study shows it’s a trait more associated with young people, and not linked to when you were born.”

Andrews added that the myth of the job-hopping Millennial is just that — a myth. The data consistently showed that today’s young people are actually less likely to job hop than previous generations.

In light of all this evidence, it’s likely that companies pursuing Millennial-specific employee engagement strategies are wasting time and money.

“They would be far better served to focus on factors that lead all employees to join, stay, and perform at their best,” Andrews added. “And those factors are the same for all workers – a winning organisation they can be proud of, an environment in which they can make the most of their skills, good pay and fair treatment and enjoyable, fulfilling work.”

By Veronica An for The Hub

Despite being known as the digital generation, tech-obsessed millennials are spending more money on handmade cards and letterpress stationery.

“Everyone says that paper is dying but our experience is that paper is not dying,” said Rosanna Kvernmo, who runs Iron Curtain Press and the adjacent stationery store, Shorthand, in Highland Park.

According to a report by Paper Culture, the average number of holiday cards purchased by customers has actually increased by 38 percent over the last five years.

“I don’t think this is just a flash in the pan,” Kvernmo said. “I think stationery is here to stay.”

Stationery makers and letter pressers agree that millennials are some of their biggest consumers.

“I interface with people a lot and, yes, I can say that people are sending cards again,” said Elisa Goodman, 62, owner of Curmudgeon Cards. Goodman has an online store and travels to various art fairs and open air markets in Los Angeles to sell her cards.

Goodman has been making her unique brand of handmade cards for 18 years and says her message is one that resonates with millennials as well as Baby Boomers. Goodman started making cards while dealing with a difficult time in her life and said that encouragement cards were among the first she created.

“I’m happy millennials are resonating with my brand so much. They really are appreciative of the quality and not price-resistant to the cost of handmade cards,” Goodman said.

Curmudgeon Cards retail for $10-$12 – about double the cost of digitally printed cards. Goodman sells many of her cards at craft fairs and farmers markets across L.A.

Cost still a factor
Still, other stationery-makers cite price as a sticking point with customers. Letter pressers say that the cost of paper and ink have gone up, not to mention the difficulty of working with machines that are out of production.

Adam Smith, 38, the owner of Life is Funny letterpress, got his start at Sugar Paper letterpress in 2006 and purchased his own press, a 1953 Heidelberg Windmill, in 2013. He said his cards retail at comparable prices to digitally printed cards which make them more affordable than most.

“One of my biggest clients is Alfred Coffee so the people who are buying these cards are who you’d expect …millennials with money,” Smith said.

According to customers, Smith’s sarcastic cards appeal to millennials. One card under the “Love” category tagged as #FirstDateWarnings says “I Use A Lot Of Emojis…I Hope You’re Okay With That.”

In addition to letter presses that have opened recently, older L.A.-based companies are also seeing an increase in business. Aardvark Letterpress, a family-owned letterpress in MacArthur Park, celebrated its 50th year in 2018 and owners say that not much has changed in terms of production.

“People are rediscovering [letterpress] and coming back to us…but the economic factors are still an issue,” said Cary Ocon, co-owner of Aardvark Letterpress.

Ocon said the company saw a drop in sales during and after the 2008 recession but that they are currently doing well. Although sales have not quite surpassed pre-recession numbers, Ocon said Aardvark still does solid business with many celebrities, entertainment companies, and governmental organizations, including the mayor’s office.

“I think there’s this reaction to the temporary nature of stuff – most things aren’t even printed anymore, they’re just read and shared digitally,” Ocon said. “I think people realize that this is a whole different product…so much more work goes into it than digital printing.”

Unique feel
Customers at Aardvark agree, saying that they are willing to pay extra for the uniqueness of letterpress.

“The presentation is everything,” said Darius Washington, founder of the D Hollywood Agency.

Washington was shopping for letterpress and foil printed business cards for his clients and said he had heard about Aardvark Letterpress through Instagram.

“Letterpress has that special feel to it. It’s like old cars, there’s something special about the handcrafted effort,” Washington said.

The handcrafted nature makes letterpress and handmade cards ideal for customization.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine and a report by Forbes, customization is a major selling point for millennials.

Specialization works for Goodman, who said she accepts many commissions for Curmudgeon Cards and Aardvark Letterpress has an in-house designer who can make custom designers for clients.

“People want to connect,” Kvernmo said. “There’s something about connecting with paper that’s more special than connecting through text.”

In a world where consumers are inundated by online requests and e-mail messages, printed communications really cut through the clutter and attract attention. Although some might think that tried-and-true marketing methods like direct mail and catalogues primarily appeal to Baby Boomers, InfoTrends’ research shows that even Millennials are responsive to these communications.

In late 2015, InfoTrends conducted a benchmark study entitled Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: A Strategy for Growth. This effort included an in-depth survey to uncover what the future holds for marketers, consumers, and direct mail printers. The findings from this survey were broken down by age demographic, and respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 are considered Millennials for the purposes of this study.

After experiencing a decline in use, printed catalogues are now enjoying a resurgence. The reason for this is simple—catalogues still play a critical role in driving business. About 64% of U.S. consumers regularly or almost always read the catalogues that they received, and over a third read them occasionally.

Although all age groups reported a strong engagement with catalogues, older Millennials were particularly likely to read the catalogues that they received on a regular or very frequent basis.

Nearly three-quarters of Millennials who receive catalogues consider them to be useful tools for learning about products. Furthermore, over 92% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 used catalogues to learn and get ideas about things that interested them. The share of Millennials who felt this way was higher than it was for any other age group.

Catalogues are also a trigger for online and retail purchases. 79% of consumers reported visiting a retail store due to the products or promotions in a catalogue. This was especially true for younger Millennials between the ages of 18 and 24 (86%).

Even in today’s digital age, most Millennials are also receptive to direct mail. On average, Millennials throw out about 34% of direct mail pieces without reading them, but the flip side of this is that most direct mail items—66%—are at least glanced at. Over 81% of Millennials will take a minute or more to review direct mail if they find it interesting, and about 80% believe that direct mail can be an effective means of communication.

Based on InfoTrends’ research, customisation has a marked impact on consumer engagement. This was particularly the case for older Millennials—90% of these respondents were more likely to look at direct mail pieces that were customised or personalised to their interests.

In addition to personalisation, there are a number of other ways for marketers to ensure that their direct mail pieces are noticed and read. According to InfoTrends’ research:

Nearly 47% of total respondents reported that the quality of printing/paper had a major or moderate effect on the decision to open a direct mail piece. Respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 (57%) were the most likely to feel this way.

Nearly 49% of consumers stated that colour had a major or moderate effect on their decision to open a piece of direct mail. Older Millennials (59%) were the most likely to be influenced by colour.

Over 42% of consumers noted that the quality of printing/paper had a major or moderate effect on their decision to take an action after reading a piece of direct mail. Older Millennials (55%) were the most likely to feel this way.

When it comes to direct mail, older Millennials stand out as the group that is most influenced by the tactile experience of print.

InfoTrends’ research shows that even Millennials will respond to printed catalogues and direct mail. The key to success lies in ensuring that communications are relevant, personalised, and engaging.
By Eve Padula for blog.infotrends.com

What is a millennial? Commonly defined as a person who was born between 1980 and 2000, the term “millennial” is at its heart a generational marker. There is another side to it, though, one where the phrase broadly encompasses a mark of behaviour. At least it has become common place to identify certain behavioural traits when referring to millennials.

Unfortunately, not all characteristics associated with this generation are perceived in a positive light. Described aptly by Chelsea Krost, 24, co-founder of MPulse a Millennial-focused marketing agency from Forbes article “Is Millennial a dirty word?” written by Samantha Sharf, the word millennial has previously perceived connotations:

“To set the record straight the word Millennial is NOT a dirty word. Unfortunately, the Millennial Generation has been labelled with stereotypes like lazy, entitled, and narcissistic, which has created confusion and frustration amongst many Millennials and generations prior. This generation is often misunderstood and the ‘Millennial Hustlers’ of today don’t always get the recognition or credibility they deserve because we tend to fixate more on the negative than the positive about this demographic of people. Millennials are a generation unlike any before and we are pioneering new methods in the workplace, technology and ways of communicating that will have a great impact on our near future. It is crazy to me to think that we can define 80 million people with three negative stereotypes. Instead, I believe many Millennials are entrepreneurial, innovative, liberal and charitable.”

However, there is a common thread that is definitely associated with this generation and that is that they are redefining the workspace. Millennials are no longer happy with the typical nine-to-five day. To many it is regarded as an outdated notion, and that the best delivery of services no longer come from working in your typical office space environment. Instead, flexibility, the room to grow and engage with others in the workspace and the use of technology slowly become the prime factors when deciding where to work and who to work for.

Responding to a US survey by Steelcase, when asked to select two words to describe their ideal workplace, millennials chose “Active” (62%) and “Flexible” (54%), while Gen-Xers chose: “Fun” (56%) and “Creative”, and baby boomers selected: “Spacious/Inspiring (57%) and “Active” (53%). Peter Townshend, Managing Director of workspace researchers, Know More, says that the situation is very much the same in South Africa: “The call for flexible, active workspaces is high,” he explains. “Yes, this call comes mostly from millennials, though we are seeing all age sectors desiring, especially, more flexible workspaces that provide them with specific areas to do specific tasks. Millennial are tech-savvy, innovative and motivated and their way of working is person-centred, not place specific and because of this, we need to rethink how we see workspaces that enhance productivity. Giving a millennial a desk is the worst thing you can do – they want to sit with their entire team in highly collaborative areas, and be able to come and go as they please … especially when they need to concentrate and focus. From all the observations that we have made on South African millennials when it comes to designing workspaces to enhance their work styles, one word comes to mind: choice. Give them choices and watch them grow – Peter Townshend, Managing Director, Know More.

It is worth keeping in mind that you aren’t only building a workspace that represents the brand, but also a space for the people who work there. Companies, such as Giant Leap, know that when it comes to the office, not everyone prefers the typical desk and chair set-up, but rather open workspaces which allow for collaboration and retreat rooms for quiet time.

Integrating technology into the workspace is important. With the millennial generation being constantly online, and using technology both as a medium to increase productivity and enhance one’s skill set, it’s no longer a surprise that the working environment should be technological friendly.

This means creating integrated technological workspaces. Rooms where one can comfortably have a skype call. Office spaces that make sure connectivity is possible and that you don’t necessarily have to be at one specific station or desk to achieve this connectivity.

Giant Leap takes all of this into consideration when planning and creating a workspace. It’s no longer just about the architecture, the colour schemes, the beautifully crafted furniture or the eco-friendly materials but it’s also about the people. The roles they take on, the preferred environment, the way they engage with the space and ultimately how all of this can be used to enhance productivity.

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top