Millennials now represent the largest workforce.
Born between 1980 and 2000 this new generation has developed their workplace attitude from doting parents who raised them in a secure environment where everyone was a winner and no one was a loser and where differences in people was to be celebrated not shunned.
We may look at them as a group with an overblown sense of entitlement wanting to dress their own way, listen to their ipods while working (preferably from home). They even want flexible work schedules and longer vacation time. Unbelievable!
And yet, they are also confident and ambitious and know way more than anyone else when it comes to being tech-savvy. This is a valuable addition to any company as long as that company is able to change and expand the way they want things run.
For instance, Millennials entered into the workforce during the recession when the only way to stand out was to learn skills that out-stripped the competition.
They want career advancement and they want the opportunity to develop the professional skillsets to get there.
Millennials have a very entrepreneurial mindset. Think about it – their peers started companies such as Facebook, Apple, Tumblr – career achievement is no longer about years of loyalty climbing the corporate ladder, it’s about having skills and being able to hustle. Time is everything and nothing.
Growing up during the the war in Iraq and all the related new age disasters has caused these 20-30 somethings to feel personally responsible for making the world a better place. They want to do work that matters and to make a difference.
And one more thing: these Millennials are not tied down. Most of them do not own cars, homes or have families.
So how do you as an employer stop complaining about limited attention spans and start making it work for you?
1. Get out of their way – they are faster than you and a lot smarter about the new and constantly evolving world of technology. Lighten up on dress codes and office etiquette. Who really cares anymore? Get the job done by people who want to do it and do it well.
2. Introduce more transparency. Millennials grew up with the financial crash and political scandals – they do not believe that the company CEO is a wise and wonderful wizard. Let them in on what the company has done and where it is going and welcome their input on how to make it better.
3. Respect works both ways. Millennials have a need for structure and leadership but at the same time they expect that their ideas be considered and respected.
4. Millenials are great team members. Encourage them to get involved and run with their “can-do” attitude. They will accomplish more and in a better way.
The buttoned-up, conservative business world is changing and changing fast. The future is looking very Millennial so get behind it.