A email from a Millennial client:
"Thanks for reaching out, but this is my birthday weekend so I'll be off email until Monday, focusing on quality time with friends and family. Apologies for any delays, if this is an emergency please send me a text message (and include a photo of your Halloween costume)."
Most intergenerational managers read this with absolute horror, but the reality is that this is now the norm. The Millennial generation’s values are transforming the workplace for all ages as they utilize more technology, require social purpose, seek more flexibility and look for entrepreneurial inspired roles.
As the first generation to have grown up on the “internet,” they are highly connected, technologically advanced and globally conscious. By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be Millennials (Deliotte). However, this shift is not isolated to just Millennials. The Millennials represent the shift in needs in the workplace and these needs are reflected across all generations.
Unique Traits of Millennials
- Millennials care more about the people they work with, exciting work and good mentorships and less about money. (Elance-oDesk)
- The most important benefit Millennials want from employers is personal learning and development. (MCON)
- 28% of Millennials are management level already, and 2/3 see themselves in a management role within 10 years. (Elance-oDesk)
Many companies are already reporting frustrations and are struggling with diversity, trust in leadership and intergenerational collaboration. In addition, many companies are finding it difficult to attract and retain young talent.
Here are a few top themes to start your process of redefining the workplace:
“When I think of an example of a real mentorship relationship, I think of a leader who consistently believes, encourages, challenges, and corrects his or her employees in setting the vision for their own career trajectory and that of the company itself.” - Millennial Catalyst from Brazil
AUTHENTICITY AND VULNERABILITY IN LEADERSHIP
One of the biggest changes in the “Millennial-driven” world is the desire to have the work place be much more personal. How a large company transforms is really difficult and is by no means a simple task. In our discussions and research, we hear a lot of familiar frustrations especially from the youth.
“...Perhaps there are some lessons to be learned about how to see things from the perspective of the employee, and more to be learned on not just the mechanical aspects of dialogue and interaction, but how to engage in these from a place of trust, openness and clarity...” - Millennial Catalyst from Canada
NEW WORKPLACE STRUCTURES
From our Millennials’ perspective, no business should have just a horizontal or vertical structure, rather, it should implement the best of both worlds. Millennials love the idea of having leaders on more levels.
“If I am going to take ownership over something, I want to know I'm doing it for the right reasons. I want to know fully what I'm working towards and who I am working with and why. This makes me want to try harder. Strong, collaborative leaders make me want to work harder because I know my contribution is valued. Strong vision and clear articulation and regular reminders of said vision also help…” - Millennial Catalyst from Nepal
SOCIAL GOOD INCORPORATED AT THE CORE
When people feel that what they are doing at work has a significant impact on the lives of others, a job can become more intrinsically motivating. They have to be aware of the value and importance of their daily/hourly work activities.
“You can’t simply come up with a plan for the employees to engage with. You first need to make sure they know what it is about, feel excited about it (aka know why it’s important) and that it fits on their profile.” - Millennial Catalyst from France
TECHNOLOGY THAT MATCHES MILLENNIAL HABITS OUTSIDE OF THE OFFICE
Often most Millennials will report that their use of technology in their personal life is completely different in their work life. They don’t have the same communication styles as workplaces have previously dictated. As more Millennials rise within the organization, these communication tools will ultimately change.
“If the company doesn’t know and understand their people, the solutions can’t be effective. Right now, I don’t communicate at work in the way I communicate in my life.” - Millennial Catalyst from Greece