Learn how millennials have influenced the workplace and their current role in today’s workforce. It’s important to know the best ways to manage them.
Millennials make up more than one-third of the workforce and play an important role in the U.S. economy.
Managing millennials in the workplace requires business owners to be transparent, flexible and willing to embrace technology.
Millennials are fickle. They are willing to job hop if they aren’t satisfied in their current role.
This article is for business owners who are hiring and managing millennial workers.
Who are the millennials?
Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials are the largest living group at 83.1 million strong. They are tech savvy, care about more than just a paycheck, and are accustomed to having a voice and seat at the table. They’re an optimistic group who love social media and want their jobs and encounters to have meaning.
Key takeaway: Millennials are the largest living generation and a huge part of the workforce. They are tech natives who care about more than collecting a paycheck.
What characteristics define millennials?
Millennials possess unique characteristics that need to be embraced and harnessed in the workplace if you want to breed loyalty. If you can’t meet their basic needs and provide the right work environment, they will quickly jump ship. From their comfort with technology to their need to collaborate, here are the six characteristics that define millennials in the workplace.
1. They are technology natives.
Millennials grew up with technology, whether that was a laptop, desktop computer or smartphone. They favor email, texting, and messaging apps over phone calls and face-to-face meetings, and they are ready and willing to try new technology and apps. They expect their employers to support technology, especially mobile apps.
2. They crave work-life balance.
Many millennials grew up watching their parents put all their time and effort into a job, only to lose it during the great recession. They also lived through the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. Both of these events influenced their views of work and life.
As a result, millennial employees crave balance between their work and personal lives. Many of them choose flexible hours and the ability to spend time with family and friends over a high salary. This is something small business owners can use to their advantage when competing with deep-pocketed companies for talent
3. They expect collaboration.
The typical millennial worker isn’t the go-it-alone type; they prefer to work with others in the company, often those in other departments. Collaboration is a key tenet of work for millennials – one that may have been more difficult during the pandemic if it weren’t for their comfort with technology. Whether it’s through video conferencing or collaboration apps, millennials need to feel engaged and part of the team even if they are at home.
4. They require a seat at the table.
Millennials grew up having a say in family decisions and expect that same right at the office, regardless of their level within an organization. They want to be heard and respect the companies that give them that ability. That may be difficult for a baby boomer, Generation X or Gen Z boss to accept, but you need to get used to it; millennials are an ambitious group. Give them the path and the rules, and millennials will work hard to achieve their and the business’s goals.
5. They want to keep on learning.
Learning for millennials doesn’t end once they graduate college. This group has a deep passion for learning and a desire to grow in their careers. They value opportunities to learn more and seek mentorship from those who came before them. Companies that provide opportunities for ongoing education and mentorship will likely do a better job of retaining millennial workers than those that don’t.
6. Their loyalty is fickle.
Millennials are a loyal group when a company does right by them. However, they wouldn’t think twice about leaving a company if another one offers them a better opportunity to learn, grow, or balance life and work.
Key takeaway: Millennials in the workplace tend to share certain characteristics that business owners need to embrace. They are tech savvy, want work-life balance, and expect to be heard. They are looking for employers that can provide ongoing education and a career path for them, but beware – company loyalty isn’t their strong suit.
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