Millennial Workforce: How to manage them?
Millennials at present make-up one-third of the workforce. It is expected to raise up-to 50% in the next five years and will keep increasing. Who are these millennials? Why is it important to understand them? What do they expect? How to manage the millennial workforce?
Millennials or Gen Y is the generation born between the mid-1980s and 2000. They differ significantly from previous generations as they were born during the time when technological developments were rapid and have witnessed the global financial crisis while growing up.
To overcome intergenerational tensions at workplace and ensure things run smoother to achieve organizational goals, it is important for HR professionals to understand what millennials expect.
What do these millennials who are replacing the baby boomers at the workplace expect?
Learning: Millennials, unlike the previous generation, emphasize more on the need for learning and development. The desire of Gen Y to learn and progress in their career is obvious in their view of the benefits offered by the employers.
It is important to note why to expect learning and development programs from their employers. It provides a higher level of engagement with the employees and millennial employees love to take ownership of their work to improve the employee experience. Human resource department can ensure this by providing effective onboarding with immediate skill development programs.
Reputation: Millennials want to work in a company that reflects the value they believe in on society. They want their work to have a purpose, to contribute something of value to society and be proud of their employers. This means that companies will have to work harder to communicate all the positive aspects of the brand of the employer.
Working with millennials doesn’t work like how traditional organization structure worked. They believe that respect should be mutual and dependent on the quality of work rather than hierarchal. Many millennials, if not under economic crisis, would not think twice to switch jobs if they feel that their work is not appreciated enough. They would like to understand the need to get work done and when to get done by the employer. Once they understood the need, they strive to ensure that it gets done. But in return, they expect appreciation from employers in terms of monetary reward or appraisal.
Salary: The new generation in the workforce have a different lifestyle compared to their previous generations. They do not mind spending on their groceries, childcare and utilities even if they don’t come under their budget. They expect a salary that would support their expenditures and they are willing to work harder for it. An employer who wishes to grow fast shouldn’t be hesitating to provide a salary to cater to their basic needs. After all, losing talent is costlier.
Work-life balance: For millennials, work-life balance has always been a priority. They don’t confine themselves to brick-and-mortar offices rather they focus on organizational goals. They expect clear instructions and well-defined goals to work independently over micromanagement in office spaces. As they work independently to get tasks done, rigid work timings hardly suit them as they prefer a flexible work schedule to ensure they achieve work-life balance. They believe that with technology, employees can still stay connected with the workplace irrespective of where they are, which segues to the next expectation Technology.
Technology: Millennials were born during a time when there was a technological boom around the world. Since they grew up during the transition from physical to technological oriented social structure, we might very well call Digital Natives.
Employers should understand that due to technology, the line between work and leisure is blurred. With advanced technology and devices, Millennials stay connected to their work and peers through social media applications. They feel that technology gives liberty to work from anywhere and productively. They also expect the companies they join to have state-of-the-art technologies which include the latest gadgets, software and in-house social media applications.
Adopting new technologies to attract and retain young workers is critical to business’s bottom line.
Culture: Generation Y wants a positive environment and friendly colleagues at the workplace. The work culture the millennials expect can be explained as the union of all the above expectations mentioned. They believe in collaboration over competition.
Generation Y, in contrast with typical corporate culture, believes that money and status can’t buy happiness. They don’t abide by the cutthroat competition prevailing in the employment, rather they expect clearly defined roles and objectives for each employee so that organizational goals can be achieved as a team. This encourages collaboration at the workplace.
Encouraging collaboration at the workplace has two benefits for the company, employees get motivated through workplace friendships and it increases productivity, thereby making them happier.
How to manage the millennial workforce?
Young workers bring to the table optimism and energy which can otherwise be called as untapped potential. When they are subjected to intense learning and development programs, they tend to work better providing better results to the organizations they work in.
Millennials are really ambitious and seek rapid career progression. Contrary to popular beliefs, they don’t abhor feedback rather they welcome regular and constructive feedback over quarterly or annual reviews. This gives them to improve themselves much faster and reach the desired goals. Employers who manage millennials by providing feedback and enhance digital learning systems in their company are more successful than those who go by the traditional approach.
Employee engagement should be given focus to retain the millennial workforce as they tend to stick to their employers if they feel they’re connected to their work. It should make them feel having a sense of purpose.
Managing intergenerational tensions within an organization is really important for employers to ensure that the organizational processes run smooth. Older employees usually feel that Gen Y is more into technology and lacks motivation. Although employees of previous generations rank high in the organization and command greater respect, it is absolutely possible that the new generation might think them to be slow and obsolete.
Note that your workforce might soon be filled with millennials and centennials in future. Employers should help managers to understand the millennial mindset by coaching all senior employees in IT, social media, latest technology, workplace and culture trends.
Set them free by providing worktime flexibility. They work better with clear expectations and strong targets. It doesn’t matter if they work from the office or home or at a coffee shop. Ensure they finish the work within a reasonable deadline and don’t worry further.
Encourage transparent communication and collaboration at your workplace so that the millennial workforce would feel more connected to their work and your organization. Allow faster advancements in their career by introducing multiple levels and smaller salary perks to encourage their work and appreciate them.