At the 2015 Property/Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum on January 15 a panel of six chief executive officers agreed that the “millennial question” is a big one for 2015 and beyond.
According to The New York Times, the total number of millennials—those born between 1981 and 1997—will reach 75.3 million this year, surpassing baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) as the largest living generation in the U.S.
There are many myths and stereotypes about millennials, but here are the five factors the the panel CEOs said are the most accurate about this generation as employees.
1. Millennials want openness and inclusion.
Paula Downey, president and CEO of CSAA Insurance Group, said that millennials make up about 25% of her company’s work force. “We need a cultural change to retain them,” she added. “They’re looking for a diverse, collaborative culture.”
2. Millennials want a sense of community.
Steven D. Linkous, president and CEO of The Harford Mutual Insurance Companies observed that millennials are attracted to the mutual insurance structure of companies like his, where they can engage the community to “make a difference.”
See also: 12 types of millennials you should know
3. Millennials need reinforcement.
This generation is composed of overachievers and has a constant need for reinforcement, said Thomas A. Lawson, president and CEO of FM Global. They’ve lived with hovering “helicopter parents” who praised their every step, which makes it important to them to know when a boss approves of their work. That approval brings out their best.
4. Millennials want more work-life balance.
“The millennial approach to work-life balance often differs from that of other generations,” noted Christopher J. Swift, chairman and CEO of The Hartford. “They’re also interested in more time off and in working in urban areas with mass transit and reasonable commutes,” he said.
5. Millennials are interested in social responsibility.
This generation has been raised with a strong sense of volunteerism and “giving back” to the community, according to the panel. “Millennials are also more likely to embrace corporate efforts in social responsibility,” Swift said. That’s one reason you’ll see many groups from insurance companies helping out organizations such as Habitat for Humanity or participating in cancer walks.
The efforts to understand millennials are worthwhile, said Lawson, because properly motivated millennials can be valuable employees.
See also: Why should you focus on millennials?