Millennials. Much has been written about this group, and yet very little seems to be understood about them. Researchers even disagree about the precise start and end years of this generation, but most would agree that Millennials were born between the early 1980’s through the early 2000’s.
There are varied opinions about this group. Some speak highly of them, some not so much. But no one can dispute, Millennials are driving the workforce. You’ve probably noticed they value work differently? By the year 2020, they will be the largest single segment of the workforce, comprising nearly 46% of the workforce. Contrary to beliefs that Millennials are lazy, entitled, or have a short attention span, they’re just misunderstood. After all, aren’t we in one of the strongest economies ever? Aren’t we at record low unemployment? If that is the case, then who is doing much of the work? They are!
May I offer you some observations (and insights) into how this group thinks, and what they expect? Here are a few…
- Millennials prefer to work in an environment that is value-driven—not task-driven. They will work just as hard as anyone else, but they are a purpose-driven group. They want to know WHY you are in business, and HOW you are different before they will commit to you. Their work needs to be meaningful. WHAT you do is often a commodity (services, manufacturing, distribution, etc) to them and not the compelling reason for them to want to work for you.
- Create an interactive and tactile environment. This group feels at home in an open space with healthy, built-in distractions. For example, having space for ping pong, a dart board, or a whiteboard wall are perfect for allowing Millennials to release their creativity. They need a work space that’s stimulating. It can’t be just cubicles anymore………boring!
- Ask the right questions. In order to understand what your particular Millennials are motivated by, ask them these three questions:
What is it you want to DO here? (to create a career path)
What is it you WANT to learn? (something that might have nothing to do with your job, but you have an interest or passion in)
What is it you NEED to learn in order to be better at your job?
- “Gamify” and “Bracket-ize” their workplace. Create a process map, which is a workflow map of your major tasks, and then post it on the wall for all to see. Devise a point system to reward the activities and accomplishments that are in line with the company’s work flows. Millennials are phenomenal at understanding games and competitions. Remember, gaming is a huge part of their culture, so they understand how to excel at games. Make their responsibilities a game, and create the path where the desired behaviors are acknowledged and rewarded.
Deepening the Engagement Level
Millennials need to be seen for who they are, with their own set of work values that are different than their parents, or their 52 year-old bosses (OK, so I just dated myself…:)
It’s a mistake to assume what inspired the workforce of yesterday inspires them today. In the ‘olden days’, we were told to just work hard and be thankful you have a job. Millennials are not thankful just for a job; they want more. This should be very good news to you. They crave what you as the employer crave…a deeper level of engagement in the workplace. Haven’t you asked yourself what it would take to have your employees ‘get more into it’? Millenials want that too!
This group grew up with the computer. They grew up as gamers and fantasy football fans. They can multi-task with the best of them!
Baby Boomers (1946-64) and Generation Xers (1965-1980) need to assume some responsibility for how Millennials feel about work. The prior two generation taught this generation that there’s more to life than just a job. We instilled this attitude; They listened; and now they’re acting it out.”
Carl Gould writes about catalyzing and sustaining business growth. He is an entrepreneur who built three multi-million dollar businesses by age 40, and his consulting firm has mentored the launch of over five thousand businesses in 35 countries. Each week he co-hosts “Quit and Get Rich” on iHeart® radio; and in his keynote speeches, he shares his insights from growing top companies from around the world. You can learn more about Carl and his firm at www.7StageAdvisors.com and www.CarlGould.com.