Working with the Millennials

Every generation behaves differently from those who preceded them, and this is applicable even in the workforce environment. The millennial generation, i.e. those born between 1980 and 2000, constitutes a significant part of today’s workforce as their growing numbers is soon to surpass the population of the previous generation of baby-boomer. By 2020, millennials will account for 50% of the global workforce.

Millennial generation belongs to the digital era where everything is available at their finger tips. Most of them were mostly brought up by parents who were ready to give them the best of education and personal care. Although this grooming has made them focussed and ambitious, they are often blamed for being the ‘selfish’, ‘lazy’ and the ‘impatient’ generation by the baby-boomers despite having groomed up as focused and ambitious.

How are Millennials different from the rest:
  • The millennial generation is more assertive, who believe in competitiveness to survive and excel in the corporate world. Most of them are self-confident and multi-taskers.
  • Shifting jobs (and hence companies) was rare then. That was a generation where individual growth took a back-stage over organisational growth. However, the millennial generation wouldn’t mind shifting jobs in search of greener pastures. Job-search has also become easier than before. The instances of recession and layoffs have made them realise that loyalty towards their employers needn’t necessarily guarantee them job-security.
  • We see many from the millennial generation going the ‘Entrepreneurial’. They don’t mind quitting their plush jobs to become entrepreneurs. Many graduates from country’s top management schools like the IIMs have turned down lucrative placement offers from MNCs to start their own ventures. This risk-taking and daring attitudes have given rise to many start-ups today.
  • “Work hard and party harder” have been the mantra of the millennial generation. For them, leisure and holidays are as important as work if not more. It’s a generation that spends time and money to go on holidays.
Why are Millennials important?

According to Joel Stein, Millennials are the ‘Me Me Me’ Generation, who are lazy, entitled narcissists, yet their contributions are very crucial for the growth of the organisation.

In this competitive world an efficient workforce is extremely crucial for a business to thrive. Just like how businesses have evolved, people and their working methodologies too have evolved. It is therefore important for organisations to change their policies to suit and adapt to the requirements of the millennial workforce – the ones who would be our future leaders!

Millennials are the enthusiastic lot who are ready to take up challenges rather than run away looking for alternatives. They live in the internet era and believe in making connections and staying connected. Networking has become an important way of how business is performed today. It is therefore important to harness the networking skills of the millennial workforce to progress in the industry.

How to retain and engage the Millennial workforce:

Since the millennial generation is exposed to multiple career optionsany feeling of discontent with their present employer can make them leave the organisation. This is one of the biggest challenges that the top management of any organisation face today. Millennials are an internet-savvy generation who knows inside-out about their industry. Hence, it is important to effectively hire, retain and engage the talents and skills of the millennial workforce lest they lose them to their competitors. Some of the steps they could take would be:

(1) Define the purpose: It is important to let the workforce know about the purpose of hiring them, what the company expects from them once hired and also as a company how they would contribute to improving the society. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte For six in 10 Millennials, a “sense of purpose” is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employers.

“The message is clear: when looking at their career goals, today’s Millennials are just as interested in how a business develops its people and its contribution to society as they are in its products and profits,” said Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte Global.

(2) Mentorship over Control: Gone are the days when managers used to be considered as unapproachable and stern bosses. Today’s millennial generation expects a mentor and an inspirational leader out of their bosses who could motivate them to work on their own without being micro-managed.

(3) Flexibility and Freedom: Millennials prefer flexibility at work like flexible schedules, options to work from home etc.

(4) Feedback from Employees: It is important to engage them with frequent feedback survey. This will give them a feeling that their values and inputs are substantial to the organisation.

(5) Help them advance: Millennials believe that performance scores over tenure in progressing in an organisation. It is therefore important to give them the due recognition and credit for the contributions made by them. If promotion is not an easily available option, employers should look at providing other alternatives like moving across business, sending them on-site, giving them performance awards etc.

Millennial generation is here to stay and thrive in their career field. Any organisation that succeeds in tapping their talents can have a competitive advantage in the market.

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