Typically depicted as fickle and self-entitled individuals, millennials don’t have the best reputation compared to other generations when it comes to the workplace. But considering that by 2020, young adults born between 1981 and 1997 made up 50% of the total workforce, companies will do well to properly invest in their millennial employees to the benefit, which will benefit workers and businesses alike. We look at what sets them aside from other generations, and how employers can make the most of their millennial employees.
- Tech savvy: As the first generation who grew up with the internet at their fingertips, it comes as no surprise that millennials are inherently tech savvy. Preferring emails or messaging over in-person meetings and phone calls, millennials will require their work environment to function with the same (if not better) technology that they’re used to having at home. Ensuring that their millennial employees can choose the best pcs, laptops, headphones, software etc for work purposes, not only satisfies this requirement, but will automatically benefit their productivity and perception of their workplace.
- Money talks: Faced with an increased cost of living and crippling student debts, millennials make no bones about the fact that they’re working to earn money, not merely to “invest in a company career”, and will happily job-jump in order to ensure that they’re getting the salary that they deserve. Managers need to keep this in mind, and focus on compensation as an incentive for stellar work done, as opposed to dangling potential advancement or mentorships over their heads.
- Balancing work-life: Having seen their own parents nearly burn out working full time for years in the hope of retiring “comfortably’ one day, millennials are not slaves to their jobs. By focussing more on the results achieved as opposed to the hours clocked in the office, managers will find that millennials can be highly productive if offered flexible working conditions. Also, booking time off should not be seen as taking time away from the company – giving employees the confidence to take time for themselves and their family will build trust and foster loyalty.
- Company culture: Although millennials prize a good salary, they are not keen to be associated with companies whose public reputations and internal culture clash with their own principles. And while this by no means implies that an organisation should be held hostage by the views of one generation, rather that investing in a responsible approach to issues like social responsibility, gender equality, respect and diversity in in the workplace will lead to a workplace that is more attractive to all potential employees, while also improving staff retention.
- Map a clear career path: Yes, the discerning millennial employee won’t hesitate to jump ship if a new job offers better pay, but a majority have disclosed that clear career pathing within an existing company is more likely to keep them from looking for greened pastures elsewhere. Allowing employees to actively envision and pursue their rise up the corporate ladder will empower them to take true ownership of their trajectory within the company.
Ultimately it is to the advantage of both the company and the employees to embrace these measures when it comes to engaging and catering for millennial employees. They are a highly adaptable generation of innovators, and cementing their role in the corporate structure will inevitably strengthen the business itself.
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