Don’t Fear the Millennials

There’s no disputing that Millennials are a major part of the current workforce. More than one-in-three American workers today are Gen Y (adults ages 18 to 34 in 2015), and they have surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Smart leaders realize that in order to become a more fluid, forward-thinking, and attractive workplace they will need to adapt to the needs of this Millennial workforce.  These workers will be the ones to fill the leadership gap left by the retiring baby boomers and Gen Xers.

Here are four tips to help you make sure your business in Gen Y ready: 

1.  Keep Millennials engaged at work

 Create a diverse and inclusive workplace. Millennials want a work environment that mirrors their values and offers opportunities to work and interact with a broad range of people of different gender, ethnicity, culture, generation and sexual orientation.

Implement a flexible work environment. Millennials want the ability to work flexibly and still be on track for promotion.  They believe that a flexible schedule will make them more productive.  Employers realize higher employee retention rates when they offer flexible scheduling to team members.

Offer consistent opportunities for advancement.  Millennials are more educated than any previous generation, and they are ambitious and driven to advance their careers. They will seek opportunities to learn and further their leadership skills and expect that their efforts will position them for rapid advancement.

2.  Understand and respond to some of Millennials’ expectations

If you have generalized assumptions about Millennials, be willing to let them go. Many baby boomer and Gen X owners assume that everyone must work from 8-5.  They consider anything less than a 40-hour workweek to signal a lack of work ethic.  The longer and harder you work the more that gets done, right?  This is not the mindset of Millennials.  Not because they are lazy, but because they focus on working effectively and efficiently. To them, it isn’t about how much time is put in or when work is done, it is how and why the work is done.

Here are some common assumptions you might have about Millennials and a new way to re-frame your thinking:

Leadership Insight:  Find out if you see others through a filter of assumptions with these assessment tools.

3.  Bring out the best in what Millennials have to offer

Consider setting your organization up to support a new way of thinking and approaching work.  Millennials were raised with structured activities and measuring systems, i.e. team sports, jam-packed schedules and helicoptering parents. They expect these metrics to continue in the workplace, so employers need to define clear and consistent job criteria.

4.  Generate ‘win-win’ outcomes with Millennials

  • Include them in decision making
  • Invite them to share their ideas in a group setting
  • Encourage learning along the way
  • Recognize and celebrate collaboration across all generations in your organization

The Millennial generation is poised to be a dominant force in the future of nearly every workplace. The faster and more efficiently you adapt your thinking and environment to leverage the skills and abilities of this group of individuals, the more successful your organization will be.

Find out more about bringing generations together in the workplace.  Contact us about our 2-hour workshop Bridging the Gap:  Honoring Generations in the Workplace.