Millennials are people born between 1980 and 2000. They make up an estimated 35% of the U.S. workforce, with their impact on the corporate world only set to expand as older employees retire. With this in mind, companies need to create a work environment that supports millennials and matches their needs.
Addressing Misconceptions about Millennials
There is a misconception that millennials are job-hoppers or disloyal. This makes employers wary of young hires as the investment in training may not be returned. The problem with this thinking is that millennials are becoming a large portion of the workforce, and avoiding hiring them is not a long-term solution.
Problems Employers Face with Millennials in the Workplace:
Keeping millennials engaged.
Younger employees feel less engaged or personally invested in companies. This is due to feeling that they have no real impact on projects or the overall achievements of the company.
Schedules need to be more flexible.
Millennials prefer to work from home and/or choose their own work hours. This appeals to those who are more productive at night, or face long commutes to an office.
Regular meetings need to be held.
Millennial employees want to feel valued and regular meetings make them feel heard. These meetings help to build a personal relationship with each employee.
Management needs to be more diverse.
Having a company with diverse staff members has proven to make millennials feel more stimulated. Having a more representative management group can also make minority employees feel welcomed and accepted.
Why are Millennials Important in the Workplace?
Millennials are the future of the workforce.
As older employees retire, millennials will become the majority of the workforce. This generation will form large portions of companies and therefore need to be supported in order for productivity to continue and improve.
Younger people are generally more educated.
It has become easier for people to access universities and/or other training thanks to online learning. With this in mind, younger candidates are likely more educated than older employees. Standards of education have also improved, making millennials more well-read and literate than older generations.
Technology is second nature.
Millennials have grown up with emerging technology and may be more adept at learning new technology thanks to this familiarity. They may also be easier to train on new software because of a good understanding of basic principles.
Characteristics of Millennials in the Workplace.
Millennials have been forced to compromise their workplace ideals because of limited job availability, being unqualified for more preferred roles, or because many companies still have not adapted to what millennials need. When presented with a better corporate environment, millennials will choose to work for a company that meets their cultural needs.
What Motivates Millennials?
Millennials value personal time, a diverse work group, incentives for hard work, and integration of technology. Meeting these ideals will keep younger employees happy.
How to Keep Millennials in the Workplace:
To keep millennials in the workplace, employers must make changes to the corporate structure. Changes that millennials want include:
Offer flexible work schedules.
Millennials prioritize flexible work times over money, as there is a strong emphasis on having a healthy work-life balance within this generation. Allowing employees to work remotely is also very attractive to millennials.
Diversify your company.
Younger employees want to work for companies that have diverse management teams and offer opportunities to minority groups. Many millennials feel that companies have not kept their promises regarding diversity, which may explain why they choose to change jobs.
Incorporate technology more.
Millennials have grown up using technology and many young professionals use personal devices to remain productive. For example, they use their smartphones to access emails, send files, perform research, and make business calls. Millennials appreciate companies that integrate technology more in the workplace.
Offer career growth and frequent affirmation.
There is truth to Simon Sinek's thoughts on millennials: they are motivated by achievement. They are more likely to feel motivated to work harder and stay with the company if they experience some sort of career advancement and acknowledgment for their hard work.
Provide sensitivity training.
Millennials feel ostracized and misunderstood by older coworkers who criticize their use of technology. There is also a perception of millennials as spoiled and incompetent, which creates a toxic work environment. Older employers may feel less hostility towards millennial coworkers through sensitivity training.
Are Millennials Really Job-Hopping?
In a survey conducted by PWC, 54% of millennials believed that they will have between two and five employers in their lifetime, and 24% believed that they would have six or more.
However, the survey emphasizes that this belief has no bearing on the realistic number of employers millennials may end up having, and that it cannot be concluded that this makes millennials more likely to job-hop.
The defining factor in whether a millennial will job-hop is how open a company is to changing its environment to be more conducive for this group. If a company is committed to adapting to a new generation of workers, they will see less job-hopping.
How Do You Manage Millennials?
Millennials are looking for a change in the corporate management structure to be more understanding and welcoming of their use of technology and preference to choose their work hours. In fact, many millennials would prefer results-based work hours rather than a rigid time frame.
While this may seem like a way to "slack off," millennials are motivated by frequent and detailed feedback from supervisors, showing that they are looking for a hands-on approach to judging their work.
Millennials are also looking for comfortable work spaces that encourage collaboration and communication, so managers should be looking into more relaxed work spaces. This will create a supportive environment for hard work.
How To Train Millennials:
Millennials respond well to frequent feedback and praise for work done well. In particular, millennials are interested in mentorship from more experienced coworkers that they can learn from in a practical environment.
Creating a mentorship program will keep millennials stimulated and offer an opportunity for more personalized feedback from their mentor.
What are some problems with millennials in the workplace?
Perceived problems with millennials in the workplace are due to a misunderstanding of what the generation requires from their employers. For example, millennials need to feel engaged, experience a personal relationship with mentors and supervisors, feel accepted without stigma, and be allowed to use personal devices to remain productive.
What does Simon Sinek say about millennials in the workplace?
Simon Sinek believes that millennials were brought up with constant praise and empty awards, making these forms of approval important to their self-esteem. In the workplace, millennials need a sense of affirmation from employers to feel that they are making progress and contributing positively to the organization.
How do you manage millennials in the workplace?
Millennials work best when they receive frequent and detailed feedback from a mentor or supervisor. They are also most productive when allowed to use technology in the form of personal devices and in integrating new software.
Why do millennials struggle at work?
Millennials' ideal work environments do not match most corporate offices. They prefer a workplace with integrated technology, a more relaxed hierarchy, diverse management teams, and a dedicated mentor to train them. Without these factors, millennials are not satisfied in their roles.
What are some problems and issues faced by millennials?
- Social media-related stress and anxiety.
- Student loans.
- Social issues such as sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.
- Intolerance from older coworkers who view them as entitled or spoiled.
- Mismatched workplace preferences and reality.
- Lack of dedicated mentorship in the workplace.
Why are Millennials important in the workplace?
Millennials are becoming a large portion of the workforce and companies will eventually have a majority of their employees who are millennials. In order for companies to continue operations and increase productivity, millennials need to have an appropriate work environment.
What do millennials value most in the workplace?
- Integration of technology.
- Comfortable work spaces.
- Frequent and personal feedback from mentors.
- More one-on-one meetings with supervisors.