(Originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com)
Every year millennials — those born sometime between the early 1980s and 2000s — account for a larger percentage of the workforce. What’s more, as they climb the career ladder, they’re taking on roles with more responsibility and importance.
Millennials, in other words, are taking over. Has your company accepted this fact? If not, it’s time to start thinking about how to attract the most talented among them. (As a millennial who manages millennials, I’m in a position to know what they want.)
Here’s are five things they’re looking for at work.
1. A real employee/employer relationship
Some call millennials entitled, I say they’re not afraid of questioning authority. Talented millennials won’t tolerate a one-sided work relationship. Companies that foster an attitude of “you should be honored to work here” are mired in the past. The modern knowledge worker wants to feel valued, respected and appreciated, despite his or hierarchical position.
2. An efficient, productive environment
To create a millennial-friendly workplace, companies need to invest time and resources to create employee onboarding systems that kick ass, allowing new workers to hit the ground running. Millennials like to move fast. It’s a good policy to make sure that offices are readily available, workplace technology is up to date (hint: millennial workers don’t want to use customer relationship management software that was created when they were in elementary school) and the office layout is designed to encourage engagement and productivity.
3. Competitive compensation
Millennials are well-versed in modern job-searching and job-comparison tools. They pay close attention to a company’s reputation on sites such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn, and are adept at measuring how one company’s compensation and benefits stacks up against those of its competitors. But millennials care about more than just money. To attract the best people, it’s a good idea to publicly advertise the great employee experience your company offers along with the competitive pay.
4. Company culture
Many human-resource departments talk about company culture. Unfortunately these conversations typically have very little real-world meaning. Modern companies that are truly millennial friendly have an actual culture in place backed up by a set of core values, and make hiring and promotion decisions based on how well people reflect these values. At its best, a company’s culture helps create a special environment that fosters productivity, innovation and goodwill.
5. A flat(er) hierarchy
Many modern companies are flattening out. While hierarchies still have real value, depending on the organizational type, millennials can’t stomach getting “big-leagued” by higher-ups. Simple stuff here, folks: yelling or belittling someone just because they are younger or in a more junior position should be a terminable offense. Millennials are (now) adults and should be treated accordingly.
In the words of Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten: “Don’t ask me about the next big thing, ask the twentysomethings on my team.”