What Matters to Millennials?
According to The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation they report millennials will be the largest cohort size in history with over 80 million of them. By 2025 it is expected that they will make up over 75% of the global workforce. Millennials will become the largest studied generation in history and continue to shape our world. Is your business taking the time to understand the millennial generation?
Who are they?
The millennial generation is truly unlike any other generation. Millennials were born between the years of 1980-1999. They were born into a technological world with smart phones and computers in their cribs. All millennials have ever known is being connected via technology. This Graphica video shares some insightful millennial statistics. The millennials also have other key defining characteristics listed below:
- Most diverse generation to date
- Multitasking masters
- Highly educated
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Altruistic beliefs and sense of optimism
- They value flexibility and freedom of choice
- They want their lives to make an impact for the better
Millennials and the workplace
Despite millennials attractive qualities such as being technologically savvy and efficient multi-taskers they often get a bad reputation with managers. Many managers have hastily labeled the millennial generation as being “lazy, self-absorbed, narcissistic, and non-loyal” workers. With the millennial generation on the verge of taking over the labor force it is important for employers to understand them. For example, what matters to them, what motivates them, and what do millennials truly need to reach their potential?
Our partners at Kelly Services created a helpful blog to understand millennials better. Kelly Services details four areas where Millennials require a different approach.
- Millennials need their work to be meaningful. They want to make a positive impact on their environment; in other words, they want to do good, as George Bradt points out in his Forbes article “Trying to Manage Millennials? Give Up and Lead Them Instead.” So it’s crucial that when you ask a Millennial to do something, you explain how this responsibility contributes to the company’s overall goals. By clarifying the contribution, you simultaneously inform your employee that his or her efforts are important to the greater good of the team, your company, and even society as a whole.
- Millennials need feedback. Though most older employees only expect feedback after completing a task or during a performance review, Millennials want feedback on a more frequent basis. In the U.S. News article “4 Tips for Managing Millennials,” Robin Reshwan advises providing feedback whenever possible to help employees understand whether they’re on the right track or not. Both positive and negative feedback should be delivered in a respectful, constructive manner and enable the employee to advance his or her skills and knowledge.
- Millennials enjoy structured work and challenges. Millennials grew up with structured activities and do well in a workplace that offers similar structure. Remember: this group of workers is still relatively young and inexperienced, so providing them with stretch assignments with clear learning objectives is a very effective way to help them grow.
- Millennials do well in collaborative structures. According to Kelly Services ® research, 58 percent of Millennials prefer to work in a collaborative environment. They’re used to being connected; asking for information and help; and working with others towards a common goal. Creating teams or pairing Millennials with other employees provides the collaboration they need to function well.
To manage anyone effectively you need to understand them. The millennial generation needs to be understood by companies to effectively utilize them. However, understanding what drives and motivates millennials is only half the battle.
Next, you need to open your workplace to encourage change. A good idea is to create policies and practices that offer millennials the things they are craving to succeed in your workplace. Don’t ignore them. Don’t hastily label them. Don’t confine them to the traditional corporate hierarchy. Rather, embrace change and prepare for the future millennial workforce.