By 2020, it is estimated that Millennials will make up nearly 50% of the workforce. With Baby Boomers retiring at record rates, a distinctive shift has been occurring in the generational demographics of the workforce. And with this shift has come a gradual, yet significant transformation of the workplace as we know it.
Millennials have been and extensively studied and reported on for years, and with reason. They are the first generation to be born and raised entirely in the Information Age.
That’s interesting stuff! With that, unlike their counterparts from earlier generations, the technology that many of us take for granted today (but were clueless about in grade school) has been an innate part of their lives from the very beginning.
When Millennials first started entering the workforce about a decade ago, it was common to hear a good deal of dismissive talk about their acclimation to the workplace. But, as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. In actuality, this dismissiveness was mostly in reaction to a generational shift in the workplace (as it has been with each and every generation). Today, we are at last able to recognize the many qualitative strengths and attributes that Millennial’s are bringing to the workforce.
They are tech-savvy. They are collaborative. They are connected. They are resourceful. They are continuous learners.
And, even most relevantly, Millennials are significantly changing the dynamics of the workplace.
And guess what? This is good news … in fact, it is VERY good news.
Why? Because Millennials are transforming the workforce in ways that ways that we all can celebrate.
Millennials are giving a voice to something that has actually been obvious all along. At work, they are looking for and expect some pretty universal things, such as:
Millennials (just like the rest of us!) want to know and feel that their work matters. That there is meaning, value and purpose correlated with their effort. They are ready to stay or go with a company based on this.
To attract and keep good talent, companies can: Keep engagement levels high by offering regular learning and developmental opportunities. Focus on professional development and growth opportunities.
Job security and stability is a very important factor for Millennials. They are actively seeking out stable organizations where they feel secure, valued, and poised for growth (just like the rest of us!)
To attract and keep good talent, companies can: Be transparent with employees. Keep morale high by communicating your organizational strengths and standing in the marketplace. And make it part of your company culture for managers to have regular informal check-ins with their direct reports. These informal check-ins are incredibly useful (arguably more so than an annual mandated performance review). Take the time to notice and thank employees for what they are doing well. And if there are challenges to be addressed, take the time to collaborate and help address them as well.
Employees care deeply about job flexibility and work/life balance. Millennials are no exception – in fact, they are making a great case for how productivity and creativity is increased with flexibility related to where and when work is conducted.
To attract and keep good talent, companies can: Whenever plausible, offer telecommuting options. Studies have shown that optimal engagement occurs when employees spend 60 to 80 percent of their time — or three to four days a week — working off-site. For positions where telecommuting options are not plausible, offer a flex-time policy.
Work-life balance is finally getting its dues and is here to stay. Millennials (just like the rest of us!) want to feel comfortable, and valued, and inspired by their work. They want to be part of a company culture that respects the driving force within and the greater community without. Millennials consistently seek out a positive company culture when evaluating career opportunities.
To attract and keep good talent, companies can: Create an organizational structure that is collaborative, flexible, engaging, and relaxed. Institute an open-door policy that encourages sharing, open communication and innovative ideas. Plus, be collaborative and fun … and maybe incorporate a foosball or ping pong table …people tend to do some of their best collaboration over a friendly game at the office.
This is just a small sampling of how Millennials are transforming the workplace. And of how this transformation benefits our organizations, our families, and our communities as a whole. Check back soon, as we will be delving even further into this important topic!