THE BLOG

Tapping Into the Millennial Spirit

22/06/2013 20:04 BST | Updated 18/08/2013 10:12 BST

A quick glance around the office tends to make me feel older than I am. Or that it's time for botox. That's because at Maxus, over 70% of our team are from the so-called Millennial generation. In fact, a whopping 70% our global workforce is now aged under 33.

A big part of this is down to the ageing of the baby boomer generation heralding the rise of a new workforce. But beyond this, the advertising industry attracts young talent. What could be more exciting and contemporary for this age group than working in the fast-paced, always-on, fully digital media environment?

Having grown up expressing themselves through the medium of Facebook and Twitter, Millennials are digital natives, so their work at a media agency almost feels like play; they're using the social and cultural skills they developed as young adult individuals and applying that in spades to their professional careers. They're enthusiastic, energetic, switched on and collaborative by nature. And what a compelling offer that is for us.

So bingo. Millennials are engaged, their energy and drive really deliver for our clients and in turn our bottom line. But, they also present some unique business challenges. For starters, they are choosy. Those born after 1980 don't see each job as lasting that long, and don't tend to spend more than two years in any one position. In fact the notion of a job for life is pretty much alien to this demographic. The world is just too big and too accessible. And linked to this, nearly three quarters of Millennials expect their job to offer opportunities to travel the globe.

So, to benefit from the next generation's brightest talent, we have to work really hard to both attract and then retain them.

We do this with a real focus on our internal culture that recognises and plays to their spirit. At the crux of this sits our Maxus values; passionate, agile, collaborative and entrepreneurial (PACE). We identified these core qualities by asking our 70 worldwide offices what makes the quintessential Maxus person. Interestingly, these values are real drivers for Millennials and absolutely reflect the Generation Y ethos. We play to and nurture their energy and enthusiasm by rewarding hard work with strong career progression and accountability backed up with lots of feedback and ongoing training - all factors which Millennials tell us they want from a job.

But it would be short-sighted to simply perceive Millennials as high energy, social-media addicted globetrotters. In reality, many in this demographic are planning to settle down to start families - if they haven't already embarked on that adventure. Parenthood is a glorious fact of life and we don't want to lose our talented team just because their circumstances have changed. So, another vital part of the retention strategy is to offer parents true flexibility; in return they reward us by growing our business.

Alongside the undeniable talents and distinct managerial challenges they present comes the reality that come next year, one third of the workforce will be made up of Millennials - a natural progression as the baby boomers come of age and grads move up into employment. In our competitive business environment, can any company risk not making the most compelling offer possible to entice and keep Britain's bright young talent?