If you’re hiring individuals born between the early 80s and the mid-90s (those set to enter adulthood in the early years of the new millennium, marked by the year 2000), you’re working with millennials.
Growing up in a world dominated by media and digital technology with a more liberal approach to politics and culture – a world so different from that of their parents – millennials approach the world (and the world of work) in a unique way.
Many members of previous generations might complain that millennials are not ideal employees. They cite a lack of drive and commitment to daily work routines, overconfidence and a need for freedom in all respects as key signs that millennials aren’t the easiest employees. However, there are more millennials in the workplace now than ever before. And, if approached with a new set of insights, there is a lot to be said for understanding how to work with millennials in order to achieve the best possible results in the workplace.
Things to understand about how millennials work:
They are opinionated and outspoken. As a group, millennials tend to crave knowledge about current world events, take a stand, and want to make a difference when it comes to important causes. This means that they often know more about the world out there than their employers and that can make them seem overly-confident or even arrogant, not wanting to engage in seemingly boring tasks that have no real-world impact. While this can be frustrating for employers, especially when dealing with junior staff members, it’s also an opportunity. Want to grow the CSI arm of your business? Want to be bigger, better and more global? Want to make a real difference? Task your millennial employees with a mission and watch them add value as they take their crusade seriously.
They are tech-strong. While older employers might remember a world with smart phones and live streaming, millennials grew up with a rapidly diversifying technology. Think your employees spend too much time on their phones, especially looking at social media? Accept that is their world and they know it well. Instead of disciplining employees for their engagement with the digital universe, harness that ability to take your business to the next level. Need a new website? Want to create or boost your social media presence? Interested in exploring online retail options? Your know-all millennial might be just the expert you need.
Their life goals are not those of Gen X. Research shows that millennials are exposed to media culture, celebrity influences, instant digital gratification and more opportunities and options than ever before. This means that most millennials do not share their parents’ life goals – a stable career, home, children, a good retirement plan and an annual holiday. They want more diverse learning opportunities, more consistent travel and more freedom in almost every respect, from whether or not to have a family right through to the power to set their own working hours. This makes following traditional work structures (such as a 9-5 desk job or a staggered career path) challenging, for both employer and employee. This approach to a different type of work/life balance doesn’t necessarily mean millennials are a poor fit for your business. You might just have to think differently about how they can add value. Would flexible working hours, remote work or the chance to work on different project teams at the same time make for a happier and more productive employee? Don’t discount the millennial work ethic off-hand – there is much value in allowing individuals to work as they are comfortable.
While millennials might operate differently from previous generations, when it comes to the world of work, they share a core need – to be valued at work. And much of what makes millennials so different (their enthusiasm, confidence, desire for the new, and demand for freedom) is what makes them great employees, seeking to do valuable and valued work. And, if employers are willing to adapt their thinking around how to work with these individuals, the results are most certainly rewarding.
Are you looking to hire? Talk to us? At Lee Botti and Associates, our skilled consultants work hard to ensure our placements are professionals well-suited to the required roles. We specialise in supply chain, logistics, and travel recruitment, and offer a full range of pre-screening tests to ensure the best possible fit for your business.