Millennials and You – How to Attract and Keep Themon 11 April 2016
If you have any people at your workplace that are born between 1980 and 2000, I would not be surprised. At the current time, millennials (or Generation Y or Generation We) make up the majority of the workforce, and by 2025 will represent around 75% of all active workers.
This very large group of highly tech-orientated, and innovative people is your key to keeping up with the times, helping you to more easily adapt to new trends and technology advancements.
But what does your company have to offer the millennial generation? Do you have cloud-based, telecommuting-enabled, project management software? Do you have a company culture that promotes different types of growth? Is the boss’s door truly open? Let’s explore some of what might make your company attractive to those generations that will soon be, if not already, its most important resource.
While Times magazine calls the millennials “lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow”, this is not the whole story. They are also incredibly innovative, master multi-taskers, open-minded and great at working with others. Taking the good with the bad, you definitely want them at your workplace, or you will be soon left behind. So what are the must-have qualities your company needs to spark the interest of this generation?
Open solutions to everything
This can be anything from a BYOD (bring your own device) type infrastructure to ways of working that enable progress – if there is anything millennials hate, it’s stale ways of working. There should never be a task that “must” be done a certain way – this stifles innovation and freethinking. Tech-assisted solutions and thinking outside the box are two major assets they bring to the table, and not letting them exercise those freely is a huge waste.
The millennial generation neither respect nor resent authority, they just don’t place that much importance on it. Just because you are the boss, it doesn't mean that you will inherently gain the respect of your staff; you have to earn it through your actions. A millennial will not tiptoe around the CEO of the company, but rather email or approach him or her directly with any issues they may have. They are prone to skip middle management, which can come as a shock to previous generations, for a faster resolution to what they perceive as a problem. This means they expect an open-door policy from managers and leaders, who should be accessible for feedback and suggestions at any time. Millennials are not looking for leaders, rather they need mentors that help them grow both professionally and personally.
If you don’t have the option of remote work and flexible hours, you will have a hard time recruiting and keeping millennials. It may not need to be full-time work from home, but the option should always be there. The workaholics of previous generations are but a memory, as personal time and families play a larger role. On the upside, though, you can expect to reach your employees at almost any time (via text message or email, never via a phone call) since they are watching their phone at a borderline obsessive degree. Employ smart cloud solutions that enable collaboration and remote work in the workplace.
As more and more of the workforce consists of millennials, the way we used to run things is changing – and to keep up with the times the way we think needs to change. If you have the right approach in your organisation, the chances are that you will have what is necessary to get the most out of your workforce. While we may find some of the classic characteristics of Generation Y jarring, we must adapt or risk missing out on the special qualities they offer.
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