(Published in The Kansas Banker, Jan. 2016)
In recent years, much has been said about millennials in the workplace. Some people praise millennials as a group of employees that are extremely familiar with modern day technology and not afraid of getting things done in a unique way. Others criticize millennials as being lazy and entitled, the product of a generation where everyone wins and parents shield their children from any potential danger. Whatever your opinion relative to the millennial generation, engaging with millennials is extremely important when you consider that by 2025, three quarters of the workforce will be millennials. There are several factors to consider when thinking about millennials and engaging them in the workplace.
Why Should You Hire Millennials?
One of the best reasons to hire millennials is that they give you a unique perspective on workplace issues. Millennials are not used to the traditional office hierarchy, a characteristic that is reflected in their attitudes towards management. In The Denver Post, Seth Mattison says that this generation of workers does not understand the unwritten rules of the workplace. These employees are more than willing to challenge the norm, and while this may cause problems at first, you will eventually find the fresh perspective millennials bring helps you see things in a different light.
Another benefit of hiring employees in this generation, according to Entrepreneur, is that they are more self-sufficient than you might think. 71% of millennials have used Google for an IT solution, and 61% say that they do not call the company IT desk right away when issues occur. Millennials may apply this same philosophy of self-sufficiency to other important issues in your workplace that you need to solve, giving you value-added perspective on business challenges.
Tips For Engaging With Millennials
Now that you understand why millennials can be so beneficial to your business, the next step is to think about how you can effectively manage and engage these employees at your office. According to Forbes, millennials desire a few important things
in the workplace:
88% of all millennials would rather have a collaborative work culture than a competitive one
74% of millennials want a work schedule that is flexible instead of a rigid 9 to 5
88% of all millennials crave “work-life integration,” which is not always the same as work-life balance
Above all, one of the most important concepts to understand about engaging millennials in the workplace is that they desire strong flexibility and the ability to express themselves in the workplace. The days of baby boomer employees that adhere to rigid hierarchies while working with their heads down are passing. Millennials are set to challenge the current conventions of the workplace in a way that some organizations may feel uncomfortable with. However, companies that are ready to accept and integrate this new generation of workers will find that they have a team of innovative, creative employees that are willing to apply their natural talents to achieving company goals.