It’s important to discuss Millennials in the workplace because they already form 25% of the workforce and by 2020, that percentage will skyrocket to 50% (approximately 86 million Millennials) and 75% in 2025. Although you may not like this generation, you can’t ignore them; they’re a force to be reckoned with if I may say so myself. Yes, they may differ from older generations with their work habits and attitudes and technological know-how, but they are redefining what companies need to do to attract and retain employees. It’s not their fault they are the way they are. Millennials are products of societal advances and companies and organizations need to adapt to these changes as well.
How are Millennials different?
Adaptability to technology
Millennials use technology more than older generations and have fully integrated it into their lives. These advances allow them to keep in touch with people across the globe, and communicate instantaneously and conveniently.
Because their loyalty to their company does not equate to job security, they won’t let companies dictate their lives. Millennials recognize their value and worth and want a good work/ life balance and flexibility. They aren’t as comfortable with rigid corporate structures, either. Millennials want to work in the way that suits them best and do not want to feel controlled by outdated traditional working practices. Tell Millennials what you want, when you want it done and they’ll do it.Focus on Personal Development
Millennials love learning and don’t want to stop. They expect to keep learning as they enter the workplace and spend a high portion of their time gaining new experiences and absorbing new information. They put emphasis on their needs rather than those of the organization because they have learned from past generations’ mistakes. Employees may work incredibly hard and be loyal to their company, but that does not mean their company will be loyal to them. Millennials have recognized this and want to keep improving and stay with the competitive global market just in case they get let go (#recession).
Desire for Feedback
Because Millennials want to continue learning and bettering themselves, they value and expect feedback. They want their work to be worthwhile and in order for managers and bosses to get the most out of them, you better believe Millennials want to hear what you have to say. They will love any opportunity to interact with senior management and giving Millennials feedback will not only will it make them work harder, but the company will see better results.
Dream big or go home. Millennials dream about rapid career progression and value results over experience. These aspirations are what drive them to work so hard and strive for the best. But, let them dream. Sooner or later they’ll realize that they won’t get promoted as soon as they expected, but that will only make them work harder, which is good for the company.
Millennials are an ambitious generation and want to be challenged. Let them work in an environment that pushes them and helps them with their personal development. Take their aspirations and use it to the company’s advantage.
Millennials are an incredibly collaborative generation. Thanks to growing up with technology, Millennials can easily communicate with anyone in the world and use this to their benefit. Millennials do not want to work in a cubicle all day, they prefer a more relaxed, creative environment where they can engage with their coworkers and work together to get better results. This benefits companies since engaged employees are more productive and help with employee retention. Encourage Millennials to learn and let them connect, collaborate and build their networks.
So what can companies do to attract and retain Millennials?
Employers that offer opportunities for career progression, competitive wages and financial incentives, training and development programs, good benefits packages, flexible working arrangements, international opportunities, and have a good reputation for ethical practices favored to Millennials. However, not every company can have it all so focusing on flexibility, competitive wages, career progression, and training and development programs are great places to start.
Because of the significant differences between generations, older generations tend to look at Millennials in a negative manner. Having an intergenerational mentorship program will help relieve those tensions. These tensions arise from societal presumptions about the “self-obsessed” Millennials and an overall lack of understanding between the different generations. Companies need to work to bring these generations together and recognize that there is no “one-size-fits-all-model” style of management. Management styles that work for Baby Boomers will not work for Millennials.