Most people joining companies these days are of the millennial generation – born in the late 1980s and 1990s. They are also launching start-ups, transforming politics and devoting their efforts to social endeavors. Given this evolution, millennials will most likely be at the helm of leading organizations very soon.
As human resources managers are working hard to attract and retain the talent of millennials, there has been hard work to try to identify defining characteristics of them. One of the most apparent characteristics of millennials is their attraction to technology and capacity to relate with one another through social networks. Beyond this, there are two more notable finds.
First, millennials are attracted to flexible work environments. They don’t believe that demands of work should mean sacrifices in their personal lives, or at least most of the time. Cohesive team-oriented structure is highly valued. They are more focused on productivity and getting the job done, which can usually be done from home.
Second, when choosing an employer, millennials are looking to companies that offer them opportunities for personal and professional development as well as a clear commitment to social responsibility policies. They are also very interest in fast-track promotion and a career abroad.
Some senior managers feel inhibited while working with millennials or just fear them. This is not something strange or new: Baby boomers were criticized by their pre-World War Two predecessors for their idealism and self-absorption; The beat generation in the 1960’s looked backwards in anger; The young leaders of the 1968’s riots in Paris and at many university campuses worldwide called for a revolution to defeat bourgeois institutions; More recently, the “indignados” and Occupy Wall Street components opposed today’s establishment. Indeed, intergenerational conflict is recurrent and cyclical.
However, I think that we can fix this with three steps so human resource managers, read carefully. Make sure that you nurture initiatives that promote cross-generational dialogue and understanding. The adoption of younger generations’ language and implementation of new ways of technology-supported communication would be very helpful. Promote cross-generational interaction – build diverse teams and introduce reverse coaching. Make sure to combine traditional face-to-face learning with new forms of technology in training and educational programs.
Millennials are going to help your company move forward so don’t be afraid of them. Embrace their attitude and adapt to their ways. Have you seen this happening at your company? What do you think?