Much has been written about Millennials in the workforce and this makes sense as they are now the generation that makes up the majority of workers. With every generation comes a unique set of challenges that need to be addressed. Those born just before the turn of this last century are different. They cannot be managed the way other generations have been managed. In order to manage Millennials one needs to understand the factors that motivate them.
The internet generation
Millennials, born after 1980 and before 2000, are children of baby boomers. Their parents doted on them, heaping them with praise and building up their own sense of self-worth. Their childhood were filled with structured activities and gave rise to the term helicopter parenting. They are also the first generation to have been born and raised with the internet. This has given them unimaginable access to data and information, connecting them with each other and the world. With the internet, information is always available. Where previous generations had to look up information in an encyclopaedia, the Millennials have instant access to information. Social media and the ability to freely access and share information in real time are unique to this generation. Because of this access, they do not feel the need to go into an office and work from a traditional desk; they can be anywhere and on any device in order to get the job done.
Blurring the lines
Work and life have merged and traditional office settings are changing because of this. Coffee shops have become work spaces. Work is now part of life and Millennials don’t feel that they need to go into an office and work standard hours when in fact they can be working from anywhere, anytime. Face-to-face can be achieved via Skype and it is not necessary to formally meet in person in order to get the job done.
Work and life or just plain life?
For Millennials, the line between work and personal time merely an artificial boundary. As one student remarked at a CEO Connection Forum on Managing Millennials, “What I do is incredibly convergent with who I am.” It makes no more sense to them for you to worry about their doing personal emails and texts during “work” time than for them to worry about doing work emails and texts on their “personal” time. There is no work time. There is no personal time. There is no work/life balance. There’s just life.
Modes of Communication
Texting, chat and messenger are all forms of communication just as land lines, fax and email are. Respect that communication methods have changed and as long as the message is being relayed, it does not matter which medium is relaying it.
Millennials are renowned for networking and working well in a team environment. They are used to sharing information and collaborating. The share button was developed with them in mind and many movements have started in recent years that have gained traction by people sharing events and information. Crowd funding is unique to this generation as is gaining momentum by sharing knowledge.
Remember that Happiness is good. Actually it’s found in the pursuit of three goods: good for others, good at it, good for me. Millennials are primed to do well by doing good. For Millennials, work must have meaning. They won’t commit to you or to the organization. They will commit to a meaningful, good for others cause.
Millennials are renowned for having a wonderful ‘can-do’ attitude, and positive personal self-image. This can be utilized to everyone’s advantage by encouraging them, respecting different methods of communication and being careful neither to squash their ambitions nor put up artificial boundaries.