Today, any workplace consists of the following 4 generation of employees (Johnson, 2012): Traditionalists who are born before 1945, the Baby Boomers who are born between 1946 and 1964, Generation X (1965 – 1980) and the Millennials (1981 – 1999). The Millennial generation also known as the Echo-boomers or the Generation Y are the dominant forces in today’s market place and workplace (W5 on Millennials, 2012). They expect simplicity and instant results. In this age of search engines and social networks, it is incredibly easy to find people and information for these Millennials (Kapnick, 2013). They have grown up texting, chatting and sharing on social media. They are impatient, multi-taskers, selective, experimental learners, collaborative and craving customization (Sweeney, 2006). However, there are certain stereotypes linked to Millennials. They are depicted as self-centered, unmotivated, full of confidence and self-absorbed (Karen K. Myers; Kamyab Sadaghiani, 2012). These mixed views about them have spread a lot of concern about how the organizations will be affected by this dynamic and unpredictable generation. As they continue to enter the workplace, there is a widespread speculation about how they will communicate and create functional work relationships with the older employees. So how can an organizations use and motivate these Millennials to enhance their organizational performance? There are 8 traits that every organization needs to know about the Millennial generation.
The Millennials don’t believe in the “one size fits all” mantra. Organizations should make sure that the tools provided to the Millennials are up-to-date and can be personalised. Businesses today have started having work-life balance policies, flexi-times, etc. to adjust according to the changing times. According to reports, more than a two-third of Millennials surveyed do not expect to work regular office hours.
Freedom of choice:
Millennials have the power to choose in almost all areas of life. Be it a cell phone or an airplane. They have a lot of options at their disposal. Organizations need to identify whether they can cater the needs of the Millennials by providing them various choices and flexibility according to their interests and preferences.
The Millennials don’t believe in anything which is not authenticated. They need proof. They know that the reality can be manipulated and altered easily. Hence, they scrutinize everything instead of blindly believing or following anything. If they don’t like a particular idea or instruction they will say so and ask for clarification. The employers need to be open about it and ready with the answers.
Social responsibility is the theme of this generation. They believe in giving back to the community. How much does your organization work to help others? How much will you do for your community? They give importance to social justice. Also, 59% of the Millennials said in a survey, that they would look for employers whose corporate social responsibility values matches their own.
Millennials work well in groups. They are collaborators. Hierarchy doesn’t work well with them. Hence, creating opportunities where they can interact, network and learn from each other should be provided. The experienced Baby Boomers should give working in a team more leverage.
Creating a fun work environment is a must. They want to have fun in all aspects of their life. They need to feel excited about a particular project or assignment. If they don’t enjoy what they’re doing, they are more likely to switch. Google is the best example of a company that has fused work and fun together.
Millennials want to do something new, something different. They are always looking for innovation and be wowed by the next new thing.
It is the age of high speed internet and instant messages. Millennials want quick results. They don’t like waiting for anything. They have no tolerance for delays. They need constant feedback to know how they are progressing.
All the above factors should be considered while handling Millennials. The organization does not have to change everything for them but they need to adjust and adapt accordingly; as soon the offices will be flooded by this generation, taking place of the Gen X and Baby boomers when they retire. Hence, the organizations need to align their goals with the traits of the Millennials.
Ritesh Narkhede is a Business Analyst at Compassites. He has around two years of experience in Product Management & Delivery Process Management. Ritesh is focused towards creating customer delight by providing software solutions that makes the customer’s vision turn into reality. During his career Ritesh has worked with a US based startup & a top tier software company in his previous roles.