You may have heard of them… first they were Gen-Y, or Generation Me, now we call them Millennials, but who are they? And why do we need to consider them in the workplace?
Born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials have had a bad press to date, portrayed as self-centred, overly confident, with a strong belief that the world owes them something. If they’re not happy they will simply move on. So why should we bother trying to adapt our leadership practices to accommodate this crowd?
As our own research has shown, by next year Millennials will make up 36% of the workforce. However small your company is at present, with the current talent shortages, there’s no doubting that the Millennials are on their way.
The risk is if we don’t get it right, they will walk. But if we are able to adapt we will be rewarded with a generation bursting with new ideas, energy and confidence, that could transform the way we do things.
So how are they different?
- They’re not afraid to challenge traditional ways of working, they’re technically savvy and will maximise the use of technology in the workplace.
- They respond well to more than financial reward, motivated also by recognition, doing meaningful work and a sense of achievement.
- Millennials are used to team activities, value connecting with others and are happiest in collaborative work environments.
Then how do we adapt?
- Don’t stifle their creativity, encourage them to consider your business issues and come up with innovative solutions. Work with them to develop their ideas into practical business solutions.
- To help achieve their need for instant success, set achievable goals and mentor them, fostering greater loyalty, as they feel they are achieving and contributing.
- Coming from a world of immediate responses, via texts, snapchat and tweets, they expect constant feedback. Provide coaching opportunities and don’t wait for the annual appraisal to recognise their achievements.
Do I really need to worry about this now you ask?
Our research shows that now is the time to confront the disconnect between what’s needed to address talent challenges and current practice.
With Millennials forecast to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, proactive organisations have a great opportunity now to review existing policies and practices through the lens of future talent needs. We should be taking the opportunity to better align and focus our talent strategies with overall business goals and adjust our leadership practices, to enable more engagement and retention of this new generation.