For so long, the narrative on Millennials has been so overwhelmingly negative that many people have missed the impact young workers are having on everything from dining out to fundamental work practices. But in my work as a Human Resources Leader, it’s something I see every day as I interact with employees, clients and teams made up of people of all ages.
My experience says there are differences between the generations. “Baby Boomers may believe Gen Xers are too impatient and willing to throw out the tried-and-true strategies, while gen Xers may view boomers as always trying to say the right thing to the right person and being inflexible to change”. Similarly, “Gen Xers may consider Millennials too spoiled and self-absorbed, while Millennials may view Gen Xers as too cynical and negative”.
“Millennials are often criticized for their fixation with technology and general self-admiration, but like it or not, this is the up-and-coming generation that’s going to shape the workplaces of tomorrow”
By end of next 2 years, nearly half the working population will be composed of millennials, and individuals within this generation will be starting and managing their own companies more frequently.
This generation (Millennials) is having a drastic impact on the shape of company culture. Not only are they getting choosier about the businesses they work for, this generation is also looking deeper into the values of the companies they buy from.
The end result is a gradual shift toward company cultures and values that appease these millennial demands, and if businesses don’t want to be outcompeted, they should not only become familiar but adopt them too.
Millennials want to work for a purpose, and it is our responsibility to offer them a business environment that stimulates them to achieve their life’s calling. In a recent Millennials’ research by a fortune 500 company it was found that a majority of Millennials across corporates want to make a positive impact on their organisation and help solve the larger challenges of life. Quoting Leigh Buchanon from Meet the Millennials, “One of the characteristics of Millennials, besides the fact that they are masters of digital communication, is that they are primed to do well by doing good. Almost 70 percent say that giving back and being civically engaged are their highest priorities.”
Millennials are bound to be different, and
unfortunately, everything they do will look rebellious. Hence, teaching the
older generation to be empathetic to the ways of the Millennials and
accommodating reactions will help in creating a common comfort zone. Remember,
all that a Millennial seeks is a creative independence in the way they work.
Give them the liberty to attempt a task as according to them, and see them
flourish with wonderful results.
A collaborative working environment will go far in bringing employees together. Millennials are drawn to collaborative workspaces because they easily satisfy their desire for learning and direction. Working in a group atmosphere facilitates the sharing of ideas and makes it easier to receive regular feedback. Baby boomers and Gen Xers should recognize that ultimately these young employees are after validation, feedback and direction from their more experienced colleagues, will hold the fort. Developing a workspace conducive to this type of communication will go far in attracting and retaining a millennial workforce. More than 70% millennial employees say the workspace quality is an important factor in choosing an employer. And they’re not alone: company culture and workplace environment are top factors influencing workplace satisfaction for all generations.
Collaborative workspaces can be great news for older employees as well. Positioning your more experienced employees as sources of knowledge for the younger employees. A system of mentorship can create a culture of mutual validation between the younger and older employees. This will also acquaint the older generation of workers with modern working styles, new technologies, and fresh insights into their field.
Hierarchies are Out, Creative Freedom is In
By 2025, Millennials will represent 75 percent of the global workforce. At that time, corporate culture as we think of it today will be a distant memory. They’re hyper-connected, tech savvy, entrepreneurial, and collaborative. They also favour fast-paced work environments, want quick promotions, and aren’t fans of traditional office rules and hierarchies.
- In a recent survey, Millennials prioritized “meaningful work” over high pay as a job factor.
- One in three Millennials said social media freedom is a higher priority than salary.
- 70 percent of Millennials are planning to change jobs once the economy improves.
- The standard 9-to-5 workday is fading, and the change is at least partially being driven by millennials.
- When job searching, millennials seek out openings at companies that are socially responsible. Whether that’s the core mission of the company or a longstanding reputation for giving back to the community, millennials want to know the company they work for is focused on more than just making a profit.
That doesn’t necessarily mean chucking the conference table for an air hockey lounge. It does, however, involve recognizing that Millennials want to feel proud of the places they work and the necessity of bringing your business up to these standards.
So as the landscape of the workforce continues to shift as the torch is passed from one generation to the next, tapping into the millennial purpose can strengthen and jump start companies in this intensely competitive and global environment.
If your purpose is their purpose, they will go beyond the call of duty to deliver excellent products and services for you. If your goal is to fulfil their purpose, you will create a culture that will encourage millennials to stay and attract others.
Does your company have the strength and courage to pursue this path?