For college seniors, graduation day is approaching this spring. Preparing to enter the workplace can be stressful, especially when trying to find the right organization and opportunity.
As a senior PR student at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., I have been hunting for the perfect job. This year’s graduates are trying to present the best versions of themselves while searching for the right workplace.
Gleaned from my own experiences and from talking with fellow students, here are six workplace characteristics that our generation values. Offering these features that go beyond the paycheck should benefit jobseekers and employers who are looking for young talent.
Flexible work environment
Ever since our country was shut down during the pandemic, companies have realized how much work employees can do from home. Our generation is filled with go-getters who want to tackle their tasks, not just sit at a desk for eight hours a day to prove they were there.
A hybrid job is the best option. A physical office that employees can come to when needed is important to have. But the flexibility to go as you please and to get things done from your office and from your home is on everyone’s radar these days.
The right manager
A good manager is encouraging and helpful. Our relationship will be a collaborative partnership, where I can approach my boss with questions and concerns when needed. A good manager will teach me how to do my work properly, then let me do my job.
Micromanagers are often overbearing and won’t give new ideas a shot. People in my generation are capable and have good ideas to share.
Our generation is also known for wanting recognition. Recognition feels good and encourages a harder-working environment. People want to see their efforts recognized and rewarded. Doing so doesn’t fit every work environment, but managers can usually squeeze some sort of recognition into their workplace.
The right benefits
Health insurance is a necessity, but college graduates are already thinking down the road to retirement and 401(k) plans. Other job benefits we value include company stock options and charitable-matching gift programs. Our generation wants to make a difference beyond the workplace. Finding a company that supports that effort is important to us.
Good working environment
For young professionals entering the workforce, it’s nice to see peers our own age in the office. Maybe you’re new in town and need to make friends, or you’re more collaborative around colleagues your own age.
At the same time, having people of different ages in the office is also important. That range brings varied thoughts, wisdom and experience. A diverse workplace blends life experiences and encourages ideas and collaboration.
The right office space
The arrangement of an office helps determine its vibe. An environment with cubicles, where you can’t see anyone else and you’re alone most of the day, is not appealing for many employees. But some people like to work alone. One solution is an open office that still has enclosed spaces around the perimeter. People have the option of a quiet space where they can go to think or talk.
In the main area of the office, open desks in an open room allow for more collaboration and the free flow of ideas. Desks that rise so you can stand behind them also encourage physical activity and blood-flow, so high-energy people can let some of that energy out.
Bright colors and decorated walls and cubicles bring creativity to the office and give off happy feelings, which is how employers want employees to feel about their jobs.
As graduating seniors, how can we assess all of these factors before accepting a job? It’s our responsibility to ask as many questions as possible during interviews. The employer is not the only one looking for the perfect match; we are, too.
If you’re still unsure what the office environment is like, then ask to shadow someone in the company for a day. You can observe the office space, see the people work and ask other young employees any questions you might have.
Avery Miller is a graduating public relations major at Appalachian State University.[Photo credit: treecha]