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(MCT)—Each morning, Michelle Introsso, 22, huddles with her co-workers at Cirle, brainstorms with them on a blackboard, and chats with them online as the day unfolds. When the workday ends nine hours later, she often heads with them to dinner or for drinks.

The camaraderie, she says, is what she looks for from the people she works with and allows her to do a better job. “I’m not just an employee; I’m part of a team.”

Today, millennials like Introsso want to integrate their work and personal lives even more than previous generations. They want their workplaces to be like second homes, their co-workers to be their friends, and their bosses to be their workplace parents or mentors.

While the big push in creating social workplaces has centered on ice cream-making contests and costume competitions, experts say the future is going to require a more strategic approach to building a “fun” culture that encourages camaraderie, loyalty and dedication.

Researchers say millennials’ expectations for social connections at work set them apart. A survey by Millennial Branding shows this young generation has a team-oriented focus and enjoys collaboration.

“They were on sports teams growing up where the teams were rewarded and they want the same feeling in the workplace,” said Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and management consulting firm. “If they are able to make friends at work, they are more likely to stay with your company and be happy doing so.”

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