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Embracing Millennials in the Workplace
Dispelling the Myths of Millennials at Work
What is wrong with this generation? Seriously…millennials are lazy. They lack commitment and work ethic, and they have a sense of entitlement that is absolutely outlandish! Don’t you agree?
While it’s true, the modern workplace is rapidly changing, it is my honest opinion that you have the “millennials” all wrong. In fact, expecting people to have the same values, the same opinions, the same beliefs, and the same needs as those in the workplace — 60 years ago — seems more absurd to me. The bottom line is if you want to hire the best young talent and keep them in your company for any length of time, then you need to start doing things differently than what you have done in the past.
Trying Something New and Fresh
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~Albert Einstein
Today’s leaders are clearly challenged by the intergenerational workforce. Baby Boomers who continue to work are loyal and have a strong work ethic. Gen X employees are characterized by the need for individual advancement, job stability, and satisfaction. This all makes sense. Both generations of staff fit easily into our businesses and organizations. In fact, qualities such as loyalty, satisfaction, stability, and advancement are all deeply held values by most organizations.
But who are these millennials who want creative work, flexible hours, and care more about their social and family life than corporate values? Who are these people who seem to be attached to their phones, care little about policy, politics, or staying in one job for the rest of their lives? They are like putting a square peg in a round hole! They just don’t fit…or do they?
Embrace the Passion of Millennials
According to a report developed by PwC entitled Millennials at Work, millennials are passionate, well-educated, resourceful young people who are inspired by social justice causes and motivated by continual learning opportunities. They enjoy travel and would be all too happy to accept overseas assignments. These young people are tech-consumed. Therefore, they are ready and able to keep up with whatever new technological upgrades you bring to your business.
Is your organization socially responsible? If it is, chances are it will be your organization that attracts that fresh new talent. Millennials enjoy giving their time to social causes that mean something to them. They champion your company’s social cause and they stay longer with your company because they have a connection to something that matters to them.
So, what’s the truth? Are millennials lazy, careless employees or are they passionate, creative, experience-driven employees? My guess is that you probably have both kinds of employees in every workplace but it has nothing to do with a specific generation of staff. The reality is that organizations and its leadership have yet to make the required shift to accommodate the generational changes to the organizational landscape.
By 2025, approximately 75% of the workforce will be comprised of millennials. Current leaders will to need to rely more on EQ instead of IQ to meet the needs of this new workforce. A greater understanding of employee strengths and weaknesses along with a change in perspective will significantly reduce stress and conflict. It will also allow for a reduction in employee turnover and a greater ability to maintain high potential employees.
The Five Ways to Embrace the Millennial Workforce
So where do you start? Here are five unconventional ways to embrace your millennial workforce:
1. Up Your Game! Progressive companies are “gamifying” their performance targets and offering unique bonuses that appeal to millennials when they reach company objectives.
2. Create unique incentives. Millennials care less about monetary incentive and more about experiences. Instead of signing bonuses some companies give trips, conferences, and travel experiences.
3. Allow work outside of the office. With tech-savvy millennials and technology to match, a lot of work can be done at home or off the work-site. Working remotely is a huge motivator for millennials. Also, allowing flexible work hours and the use of their own technology are also attractive incentives.
4. Engage millennial staff in team projects. They are very accustomed to working in groups and reject the rigidity of information silos and tight corporate structures. Millennials are used to having information at their fingertips and being in constant communication with others.
5. Provide plenty of learning opportunities and frequent feedback. Millennials need to know they are doing a good job. They appreciate positive feedback, constructive criticism, and recognition when earned. They are educated and look for all kinds of learning experiences.
Embrace All Your Staff–Not Just the Millennials
Look for the good in all of your employees. Strive to find their best assets then grow those strengths to serve your company. Where employees needs assistance, provide support, mentorship, and learning opportunities. As a leader, you have a responsibility to grow our future leaders. This is an awesome place to start!
PricewaterhouseCoopers (2011). Millennials at work. Reshaping the workplace. Retrieved July 26, 2017, from https://www.pwc.com/m1/en/services/consulting/documents/millennials-at-work.pdf
Robertson, B. (2017, February 23). What Drives Millennials In The Workforce? Retrieved July 26, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/brian-robertson/millennials-workforce_b_9298230.html?utm_hp_ref=ca-millennials-in-the-workplace
Shurman, P. (2017, June 08). Millennials As Disruptors: This Changes Everything. Retrieved July 26, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/peter-shurman/millennials-as-disruptors_b_10328798.html?utm_hp_ref=ca-millennials-in-the-workplace