The Millennial Generation, or commonly referred to as "Gen Y" consists of individuals born between 1980 – 1995 (ages 18 to 33 years old). This is the group of individuals most business organizations are focused on because they will be running our corporations, government entities and meetings in a few years.
PwC, in conjunction with the University of Southern California and London Business School, conducted a global generational study of 1,000 Millennials from 18 global territories. Because 66% of PwC's workforce consists of Millennials, it was important for them to find out if the stereotypes were accurate.
Here are the four major takeaways from their research and how I believe this information relates to the meeting industry.
Research Nugget #1: Many Millennial employees are unconvinced that excessive work demands are worth the sacrifices to their personal life.
Meeting Speak Translation: Millennial meeting planners are not going to stay up all night and travel on weekends to work a meeting. In the same light, this class of attendee is not going to want to travel on Sundays or take late night flights. They want balance and in the evening they want to participate in fun, exciting activities that do not revolve around work or the conference.
Research Nugget #2: Millennials say that a strong cohesive, team-oriented culture at work and opportunities for interesting work—including assignments around the world—are important.
Meeting Speak Translation: Millennial meeting managers are going to be more comfortable working as a team rather than completing assignments alone. They want and welcome global meeting opportunities and many of them are fluent in a second language. This is true of attendees as well. Creating content that swirls around group exercises and interaction is right up their alley. If the organizational budget allows it, international meetings are very attractive to them.
Research Nugget #3: Millennial attitudes about work/life balance are significantly common in the United States, Canada and Western Europe — but not necessarily in other parts of the world.
Meeting Speak Translation: In the other regions of the world, cultural and traditional values will take precedent over the Gen Y attitudes about work/life balance. From a global perspective, you cannot assume that one size fits all for planners or attendees.
Research Nugget #4: The drivers of retention and their importance varies between Millennials and Non-Millennials.
Millennials expectation to be supported, appreciated and to be part of a cohesive team. Flexibility in where they work and how much they work is also a key driver in their workplace satisfaction. The non-Millennial generation places greater importance on pay and development opportunities.
Meeting Speak Translation: Gen Y planners work well in a supportive team environment where they are appreciated. These attendees learn in an environment where they can discuss matters as a group. Flexibility in the meeting space, time and length of the meeting are key.
PwC recommends the following when recruiting and retaining Gen Y employees. You can do the same with regards to your meetings.
Create a flexible work culture — Don't have every minute planned at the conference. Give attendees choices and plenty of opportunity to network.
Fully leverage technology — This generation is particularly savvy with mobile technology and their apps. Rent iPads, touch screens and computer kiosks. Put Gen Ys in charge of helping other attendees feel comfortable with this technology.
Build a sense of community — Online and off, communities can help keep the group connected before, during and after the meeting.
Consider introducing or accelerating your global mobility program — This group of attendees can help grow and develop international meetings.
AV Event Solutions is here to help you attract and retain Millennial attendees by offering state-of-the-art total technology solutions for your next meeting or event!