Leadership in the Age of the Millennial Employee
In 2016, Millennials became the largest generation in the American labor force. For anyone working in a leadership position, it’s vital to be informed about Millennials in the workplace.
Research indicates that this generation tends to have different priorities and beliefs than the generations which came before them. Your company’s strategies for hiring, retaining, and motivating employees may need to be updated accordingly.
Getting to Know Millennials in the Workplace
“Millennial” has been a highly debated term for years, as people have different ideas about the best way to define this generation. According to guidelines established by the Pew Research Center, Millennials were born between the years 1981 and 1996. The experiences of Millennials in the workplace have been shaped by key historical events, including the rise of the internet and the 2008 economic recession.
Compared to other generations, Millennials in the workplace have a reputation for feeling less “loyal” to their employers. They are more willing to leave their current jobs than older generations, a phenomenon sometimes described as “job-hopping.” This may sound like bad news for employers worried about turnover rates, but it simply requires new strategies.
Retaining and motivating Millennials in the workplace requires understanding what this generation values in a company. You have a better chance of attracting highly qualified Millennial employees if you’re offering:
- Educational opportunities. Lack of training is the most common reason Millennials give for leaving their jobs. Are you providing your employees with the resources they need to excel and advance? Do they have opportunities to learn new skills at work?
- Communication. Millennials in the workplace value giving and receiving feedback. Do you provide employees with clear performance reviews? Are you receptive to suggestions from them?
- Work-life balance. Life outside of work is a priority for most Millennials. Does your company allow options like flexible scheduling or working from home? Are you supportive of employees when they need some time off?
- Cooperation. Millennials tend to favor collaboration over competition. Does your company encourage teamwork? Do employees have opportunities to work together?
- Social responsibility. Millennials are a socially engaged generation. They have a more favorable view of companies that contribute to their communities in some way. Does your company do any charity or community outreach?
Overall, Millennials aren’t just looking for a few perks around the office. They’re looking for opportunities to learn and advance their careers while maintaining personal lives. Don’t confuse their search for connection and meaning as entitlement. As Millennials continue working their way into leadership positions, traditional workplace culture is beginning to change.
This change offers opportunities for your company to grow, and to take advantage of the widened perspective that these diverse and tech-savvy professionals can offer. They are eager to learn and try new things. Leading them is a matter of understanding what has shaped their values and engaging accordingly.