By 2025, They Will Comprise 75% Of The Workforce

We help our clients to deliver technology enabled business change. A major change that is happening now, and will only expand over the next few years is the progression of the millennial generation up the career ladder. As this progression happens, businesses must be ready to evolve and adapt to adjust to this change. Technology and IT will plays a key role in enabling this change to happen.

Millennials now make up the largest living generation and are defined as those born between 1980 and 2000. This generation was the first to grow up with the Internet, mobile phones and cable TV, who have developed work characteristics and tendencies from doting parents, structured lives, and contact with diverse people.

The Millennial Persona

Often millennials can be perceived in a negative manner and can be described as being lazy, narcissistic and prone to jump from job to job. But, on the flip side millennials are very focused on developing themselves and thrive on learning new job skills. They have a “can do” attitude and don’t worry too much about failure. Employers must evolve and adapt their processes and ways of working in order to maximise the benefit they receive from this generation of workers.

In a working environment, millennials operate best in teams, with flexible working options and continual learning and personal development opportunities.  They look for a company with social responsibility,  work-life balance and entrepreneurial spirit and they want a leader with integrity, who is honest and act as a mentor.

They aim to constantly improve their knowledge in meaningful ways. For them, work isn’t just about income.”

The Importance of Technology for Millennials at the Workplace

Being the first generation to be born in a digital era, millennials are tech-savvy and consume technology in a different way to previous generations.  Neilsen identifies the use of technology as the factor that most makes this generation unique.

In general, millennials, more than any other generation in the workforce, can rapidly pick up new technology and master it.  They can grasp new business tools much quicker than some senior workers, which is a real advantage in a fast-paced environment with continuous changing technology.

Millennials look for an exciting and informal workplace setting where open and honest communication is the norm.  When communicating, they favour social networking and text messages as an instant, quick form of communicating. More formal communication like telephone and face-to-face interactions are less favourable to this generation.

Effective communication also helps them understand their role in the organisation as well as gaining a deeper understanding of the value and purpose of the company.

How Millennials can Improve your Business

By understanding the millennial’s collective world of experiences, organisations can support managers to recognise and adapt to their work expectations.

Here are 4 ways employers can do this:

    1. Coaching:  Millennials like continuous coaching and feedback and expect it in the workplace. Coaching enables millennials to keep them involved in their work. The millennial’s ideal work week, there would be significantly more time devoted to the discussion of new ideas and ways of working, on coaching and mentoring, and on the development of their leadership skills
    2. Collaboration:  Millennials are natural team-workers, mainly when the team’s goals are commonly shared. In school, they would have been involved in group work using a team-working learning style.  They consider that working as a team can achieve more and develop better results.
    3. Measures:  Millennials like measuring systems and prefer to understand how they will be judged and evaluated. Employers should clearly articulate their job assessment criteria.
    4. Motivation:  Millennials look for a work setting that is comfortable and stimulates them to contribute without the anxiety of being judged or criticised. Gartner advocates throwing a pizza lunch or awarding time off for a job well done!

Recruiting and Retaining: Employers take Note!

As millennials start to progress through organisations, holding more senior positions, employers must gradually evolve in order to maximise retention. They have differing hopes from their job compared to the previous generations and organisations should appeal to this talent, by specifically looking at what they can provide them.

If organisations seek to recruit top millennial talent they should provide them with the effective technology that will enable them to work flexibly, communicate efficiently and support collaboration and teamwork.

  • Step 1: Attract them:  When attracting millennials, organisations need to effectively communicate the company purpose and value.  Millennials need to know the organisation culture, policies, flexible work schedules, training and development chances. Technology and e-learning opportunities should be considered in on boarding and training programmes.
  • Step 2: Develop them:  In addition to the steps taken to attract millennials, organisations should develop initiatives that encourage common support and understanding among the generations.  For millennials, it’s important for companies to deliver soft-skill training like workplace culture, cross team collaboration, feedback, coaching and mentoring and how to set long-term professional objectives (Gartner, 2016).  Organisations should also facilitate collective debates like roundtables, brainstorming sessions and idea boards to boost innovative thinking across peers.  These types of leadership development opportunities aid working relationships across all generations and will support the evolution of the millennial generation to undertake leadership roles.
  • Step 3: Retain them:  Generating an organisational culture that is flexible and comfortable, stimulates open communication and encourages sharing.

The Future of the Workplace

Their professional ambitions, attitudes and tech-savvy nature will set the culture of the future workplace.  Millennials are critical to the future of all organisations. However, businesses should not completely rethink their current strategy, but start to adapt and evolve their practices as this generation develops through the organisation.