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We all want fulfilling jobs, but Millennials take that need for purpose to a whole new level. The youngest generation in the current workforce, these 18-to-34-year-olds have a strong yearning to be part of something bigger than themselves. They seek a balanced life, and they’re on an endless search for happiness, Karl Moore, a professor at McGill University, writes in Forbes.

Moore says that Millennials posses unique and seemingly contradictory priorities: altruism and self-interest. In other words, they want to do good, but they also want to know that their career trajectory is heading in the right direction. “[Millennials] are constantly questioning where they are going next and why,” Moore says. “That is, which position they will hold next. If your organization can’t tell them that, they’ll seek out another firm that will.”

Millennials will make up half of the U.S. workforce by 2020, so employers can’t afford to ignore their demands. Moore offers several recommendations for employers to engage with and help retain Millennial talent.

Onboarding matters

Only 31 percent of recent graduates think that companies properly integrate new employees, Moore says. He blames poor communication. “Orientation provides a clear sense of the company’s purpose, mission, value and goals and where an individual fits in the grand scheme of things,” he says.

Work-life balance is essential

The majority of Millennials are unwilling to make their work lives an exclusive priority, even with the promise of substantial compensation later on, according to research from PwC. Moore says that he’s seeing companies pick up on this trend. Consulting firms send traveling employees on shorter trips, for example. Deloitte supports a support group for young working fathers called “Deloitte Dads.”

Prioritize purpose

“Many more of the undergrads and MBAs today are looking into working for NGOs, or at least for corporations which have serious Corporate Social Responsibility programs,” Moore says. Millennials want to feel like their 9-to-5 has meaning, and while that idea is built in for employers like hospitals and schools, firms from banks to retailers will need to focus on their sense of purpose.

As Millennials increasingly make their mark on the workplace, companies will need to fill their demands if they want a retention rate beyond 0-2 years.

h/t: Forbes

Photo: Can Stock