Our world is witnessing today fundamental transformations, with many impacts on how we live, work, travel, produce, consume or interact with one another. The “Fourth Industrial revolution” is under way and may reshape the economic scene. We are all trying to make sense of how artificial intelligence will evolve, how cognitive technologies or augmented reality will impact us. In a word, we all want to know what these evolutions will lead to.

It is up to the young generation to decide how they want to shape the world we live in. Millennials are tomorrow’s leaders. For 5 years, Deloitte has been collecting the opinions of Millennials across the world. Their aspirations, culture, values will shape the future, especially the future of business.

Rebalancing business priorities

Virtually all Millennials expect more from business than just healthy financial performance. To Millennials, there is more to business than making money, it’s also be about people: employees (their wellbeing, growth and development), customers (making a positive impact on them), suppliers (dealing fairly with them), and society as a whole.

I think one of the most important things Millennials will bring with them is a sense of purpose, as strong as the culture of profit. According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey [1], for 11.8% of French Millennials, deriving a sense of meaning from work is one of the strongest reason for choosing a place to work.

I was writing last week about collaboration, empathy and caring – all these “human abilities” that we need to cultivate more as artificial intelligence is spreading. The good news is that Millennials, as future leaders, are – and will be – more than aware of this imperative to protect human values and put individuals first.

The rise of a new working culture

One of the top priorities for Millennials today is to successfully strike a balance between work and personal life. Encouraging a good work/life balance is increasingly seen as a driver of business performance. Opportunities to grow and take a leadership role is another important aspect: Millennials want to work for an organization that supports younger employees and develops their leadership skills. Millennials are also convinced that remote working boosts their productivity and they think that the current level of flexibility in organizations is not satisfying enough. They value creativity at work and thrive in business environment that put the emphasis on innovation and the sharing of ideas. Inclusive working culture is also important to them: they are loyal to organizations that are strongly committed to equality, and that sustain a culture of mutual support and tolerance.

Considering all these elements, it’s easy to sketch the outlines of tomorrow’s working culture. We can predict that Millennials, when accessing leadership positions, will promote a more flexible approach to work and encourage their employees to work wherever they feel they are the most productive. They might develop coaching and mentoring to train and support young employees willing to take on leadership roles. Millennials are also likely to foster a creative, inclusive working culture with open communication rather than a more top-down, rule-based approach.

Having a better understanding of what Millennials want for their professional life is essential for all organizations wishing to attract and retain talents. Listening to the young generation somehow is also a way to take a glimpse of what the future might holds; Millennials have their own vision of what business should be. They expect much more from their companies than earlier generations, and tend to focus less on profit and financial performance. When ruling the world, they will behave and lead organizations based on their values. Businesses and governments need to listen to Millennials carefully if they want to understand the changes to come and anticipate the way business is evolving.

[1] In its fifth annual Millennial Survey, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited has collected the views of 7,700 representatives of the millennial generation in full-time employment, all born after 1982, in 29 countries around the globe. This survey focuses on Millennials’ values, professional ambitions, job satisfaction and vision of business.

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