For the last decade, the term ‘Millennials’ has been used to describe what’s right and wrong with young people, but in 2019, millennials are well into their careers and the associated adulthood. That has required a shift in the way people and organisations within and outside of this generation look at them. “I, like most people (generalising), like to think I’m an individual. Not in the precious, delicate, fleeting snowflake way, but more in the fact that I’m probably a bit different from the rest of the flurry”, says Chris Young, Presto’s newest client manager and astonished-just-found-out millennial.
And millennials are everywhere - they will account for about 75% of the world's labour force by 2025, according to a study from Ernst & Young. Yet, even though they will soon outnumber their Generation X predecessors, the demand for their skills and knowledge is outstripping supply. This generation will also be more valuable, as they will work to support a significantly larger older generation as life expectancy increases. It is clear that millennials are a powerful generation of workers and that those with the right skills will be in high demand.
They may be able to command not only creative reward packages by today’s standards but also influence the way they work and where and how they operate in the workplace. They have a lot to teach to less diverse teams. Are you ready?
millennials at the workplace
This is the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp of a key business tool than more senior workers, and they can teach us about how to interact with:
- Immersive videogames – games’ structure has thought Millennials to iterate until they win
- Internet – because they grew up with the internet, millennials are constantly curating, they are good at feedback and they understand that no one can do anything
- Social Media – the way millennials interact with social media brings them the need to be validated all the time. At the same time, nothing shut them down, and they do have the ability to ignore people who do not agree with them
- Smartphones – having millennials in the team will show you that they are keen to have their own personal devices and apps to get the work done, even if it takes the work to be done in a non-conventional way
It’s more than just the way millennials use technology that makes today’s youth different – they behave differently too. Millennials tend to be uncomfortable with rigid corporate structures and turned off by information silos. They grew up collaborating online, many of them can be fine working from home, through real-time communication tools, such as video chats. They expect rapid progression, a varied and interesting career and constant feedback. They are also fine taking charge of emerging projects, difficulties and stuck points can also mean opportunities of dropping and getting up again to them.
In other words, millennials want a management style and corporate culture that is markedly different from anything that has gone before – one that meets their needs. The particular characteristics of millennials – such as their ambition and desire to keep learning and move quickly upwards through an organisation, as well as their willingness to move on quickly if they’re expectations are not being met – requires a focused response from employers.
They want to feel their work is worthwhile and that their efforts are being recognised. And they value similar things in an employer brand as they do in a consumer brand. These are all characteristics that employers can actively address.
How to attract them – tips from a Millennial
For many millennials, a social media presence — on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter — has also become an integral part of obtaining and maintaining a job. There is no “off the clock” when at all hours you could be documenting your on-brand experiences or tweeting your on-brand observations.
“We are encouraged to strategize and scheme to find places, times, and roles where we can be effectively put to work,” Harris, the Kids These Days author, writes. “Efficiency is our existential purpose, and we are a generation of finely honed tools, crafted from embryos to be lean, mean production machines.”
“There’s so much we could write about how to appeal to Millennials, and a lot of tactics and initiatives to increase the appeal of your business to this generation, but for me what would appeal most is a one-size-fits-one-person (me) approach”, says Young. “Not reinventing the wheel each time you hire, but offering a fair and consistent foundation, with a flexible and tailored layer on top. Think flexibility and adaptability, remote working, output focus not clock watching, and a management style that is honest, inclusive, and walks the talk.”
He continues “So, I’m going to go out on a limb here, and make a further generalisation (against my better judgement), that what millennials like is recognition of, openness to, and a value of our individuality in its many varied, wonderful forms. Businesses who are looking to recruit, and importantly retain, millennials are best served by utilising as many different mediums, approaches, technologies and formats as it takes to find that most perfect fit for your organisation. If those tactics honestly represent the values of your business/company/shop/website and can be flexible enough to accommodate the weird and the wonderful among us then you might be onto a winner. Practically that’s difficult, can be costly, and time-consuming, but ultimately it comes down to removing as many barriers to entry/recruitment as possible, making us feel like we’re valued for who we are, and allowing us to see who, by joining your organisation, we might be able to be. It’s what attracted me to work for Presto, and it’s what we try to remember when we’re working with our clients.”
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