Working With Millennials – What You Need to Know
Millennials – the generation born between 1980 and 1997 – have come of age. As of 2016, they’ve taken over from Baby Boomers as the largest living generation, and even the youngest of them are entering the workforce. Millennials are the first generation who came of age in the digital age, which makes them a whole new breed. Whether you’re managing them or just working with them, here are the four things you should know about working with millennials.
1. Millennials have a positive self-image that can be harnessed for good
You’ll often hear that millennials are entitled or narcissistic. Some of this stigma can be a product of youth, but the important thing to know is that it’s not a negative characteristic. A positive self-image means a ‘can-do’ attitude that can be harnessed into a unique energy and a willingness to extend oneself, both of which are positive contributions to the workplace.
2. Millennials don’t separate work and home
In an era where people are bemoaning the lack of work/life balance and writing articles on how to wind down when you’re away from the office, millennials don’t even recognise that distinction. They want to have the opportunity to access their personal life during the day, and they value flexibility as a key component of a desirable workplace. In return for that ability to leave early or take a longer lunch, though, they’ll be perfectly happy to check work email at night, and blending their social activities with professional development. Don’t expect them to conform to a rigid delineation of work and home, and you can utilise that flexibility for the good of the company.
3. Millennials seek purpose in their work
Not for the millennial generation is the idea that you clock in, do your tasks, and clock out again, with real living postponed to the weekend. Millennial workers put great value on the idea of work that reflects who they are – it’s that strong self-image and blended work/life concept at play again. The good news here is that many millennials will take a pay cut or work longer hours for a company that reflects their values and allows them to feel good about their professional identity and what they do. If your company values social good and offers the opportunity to make a difference, you’re well placed to attract the cream of the millennial crop.
4. Millennials get bored easily
Even in a fast-paced world, millennials can stand out as unusually restless. The average length of time spent in any one job is only three years for this generation, meaning that a manager with millennial staff should be prepared for some turnover. But give your millennials new challenges and new roles within the company, and you’ll find them rewarding you with new surges of energy. This is a generation who have multi-tasked since childhood, so utilise that by opening up opportunities and they’ll thrive.
What do you think?
Do you work with millennials, or perhaps you are one! What do you think characterises this generation at work?
This article was written by Tanya Ashworth-Keppel on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Pew Research Centre, Forbes, Inc, Fast Company and New York Times.