The millennials are here. Let’s put them to work.
The millennial generation, born between 1982 and 1993, is an increasingly important segment of the workforce. In 2014, one in every three employees was a millennial (Shawbel, 2013).
And in 2015, millennials overtook Generation Xers to become the largest section of the workforce (Fry, 2015)
This raises two questions, both of which are equally important to any organisation with employees:
- What makes millennials tick when it comes to working life?
- How can employers make the most of millennials’ unique skills and attributes, to build better businesses?
Get it right, and millennials could bring new levels of productivity, collaboration and innovation to the workplace.
So let’s explore millennials in more detail.
Meet the millennial worker.
- Digital world inhabitant.
- Expecting to change jobs regularly.
- Work-life integration balance.
- Searching for opportunities to learn and grow.
- Self-starters who want mutual accountability.
- Seeking a flat or streamlined management structure.
The inter-generational workplace.
It’s not time to completely throw out old ways of working — there are still two big generations to think of, who already have their own established methods of doing things. That’s why you have to think about how to make it easy for all generations to work together.
Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964).
Baby Boomers have a wealth of skills and broad business experience.
They’re dedicated, loyal and possess a willingness to stay in the same job for a long time. They also tend to work longer hours and value respect above everything else (Collier, n.d.).
Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1978).
Generation Xers are independent, tech-savvy and competent. They’re pragmatic about the employer-employee relationship and reduce their levels of loyalty as their work-situation dictates. They’re also ready to embrace culture change in the workplace, ideal for fitting in with the millennials’ views and desires.
Collaboration underpins the new, flexible way of working.
To get the most from millennials, organisations have to meet the generation’s expectations of the workplace. And this requires three types of change:
First, a change in the organisation’s culture and philosophy. Second, a change in the way people work (and how performance is measured). Third, putting the right tools in place to foster collaboration.
Together, these three changes equate to one solution: a collaborative workspace.
Creating a collaborative workspace means developing the physical space people work in, managing a change in culture, and providing people with the technology they need to work collaboratively.
Preparing for a new way of working.
Smart organisations are enabling the inter-generational work forces to work better together. By promoting flat working structures that bring workplace generations together in collaborative teams and making use of collaborative tools designed to foster the exchange of ideas to achieve the best results, these organisations are enabling millennials to thrive and benefiting from generation X expertise.
Find out more
Get even more insight into the world of millennials and their role in the workplace by downloading the white paper we produced in partnership with Unify — ‘How your Board can prepare for new ways of working.’