Those who are born between 1980 and 2000 are known as the Generation Y – or what it commonly known as the Millennials. They are now entering the work force in vast numbers and will shape the future for years to come. Attracting the best of these millennial workers is critical to the future of a company because their aspirations, attitudes toward work, and technological knowledge defines the culture of the 21st century workplace. Millennials will soon replace those who will retire from the Baby Boomer Generation. By 2020, they will comprise 50% of the global workforce.
Millennials are viewed differently by older generations in the workplace. They are often associated to someone who is lazy, entitled, and untrained at work. It’s true that some of the behaviour and attributes of millennials can be explained by their age and relative lack of responsibilities. However, as we age, our behaviour and priorities change and adapt and eliminating the issue entirely on that basis is a mistake. In this blog, we discuss three issues faced by millennials today and how to overcome it.
The first issue faced by millennials at work is that we are technologically dependent. For older generations, this is a sign of our laziness but technology helps us to work efficiently. The use of technology is what sets us apart from Generation X. Our dependence to the digital world made it instant for us to access to information. Baby Boomers should not associate our dependence on technology to laziness because technology increased the productivity in the workplace. Some instances are the use of information system to increase efficiency of effort for maximum impact and the idea of communicating using technology instead meeting physically. It is important to remember that one way or the other, technology will evolve over time and we all have to adapt to it in order to be globally competitive. Thus, the idea of technological dependence should never be an issue in the workplace.
Second is faced by millennials at work is that we are so ambitious and our eagerness to find the easiest path to climb the top of the ladder. Inclusion is important for millennial employees because they want to be part of a network and not a hierarchy. They are uncomfortable with the corporate structures and wants a management style that meets their needs. Millennials are said to break the “unstated order of things” like the chain of command. This becomes an issue when team leaders or project leaders are not able to adapt in this type of behaviour. This may create tension between both parties if they are not able to settle for a compromise. In the organization, the idea of inclusion can be solved by having a flexible management style and constant feedback from employees in order to understand their needs and be able to adapt to them. Training plays a key role for millennial employees understand how the company should work and improve their skills in order to equip them once they get promoted.
Lastly, the problem faced by millennials is finding purpose within the organization. They care about the purpose of organization. It is important for them that they can create a connection with the organization, understand the “why” behind the company, what they do and how do they create a difference in the world. This is one of the distinct characteristics of a millennial employee as they have a desire for a sense of purpose in their work rather than just helping the organization to maximize their resources. Millennials are shifting to the new business trend which h is the “social responsibility” which puts pressure and added responsibility on the company. Not all companies are comfortable with this and they may be losing outstanding employees who puts principles first. In order for millennials to overcome this issue, it is important to look for work in a company that aligns with your beliefs and principles. Apply in a company that practices good corporate social responsibility and breaks barriers in terms of promoting equal workplace regardless of gender, race, sexuality, and family influence.
Google and Apple are good examples of companies that have already been successful in attracting talented millennials who are naturally innovative employers who are not limited to ‘how things should be done’. They are not targeting millennials, but their sense of culture, management style and approach to employment appeals to our generation. Thus, they are able to take the best young talents around the globe. It is worth noting that organizations should recruit millennials because their perspective will help shape a brighter future not just for them but also for the world.