How millennials reshape the workplace for the better
The highly entitled, overly opinionated without substance, and expectation of payrises and career advancement before the time is due - is cripling many businesses, and as you can see on LinkedIn creating an acceptance that millennials will just leave their jobs every single year for another because they can.
In industries such as marketing, we either embrace millennials and work out how we can co-exist of become obsolete.
If you are a consumer brand selling to millennials and not using Snapchat for instance, you need to fire your marketing manager. Go anywhere; to a party, to someone's house or to the gym and you will find millennials snapchatting away, addicted to the fix that they get from Snapchatting away.
Millennials use of technology is addictive and relevant. They provide a new perspective for a new, demanding generation and only they know what goes on in between their two ears - so if you are marketing internally or externally to millennials, you have to listen.
Attracting the best millennial workers is critical to the future of any business, and working with their career aspirations, attitudes to work and knowledge defines the 21st century workplace.
Those who possess the right skills will be in high demand, commanding creative reward packages, and influence on where, when and how one operates in the workplace.
They are uncomfortable in rigid structures but demand leadership, and their expectation is that they climb the corporate ladder faster than what their skills may dictate. When you don't answer their call for this, they resign and find another job. That's why in part they change their jobs every year particularly if they have a degree.
In short, millennials "WANT" and rapid response to this want is necessary. Regular feedback carefully curated is expected, as is work, life balance.
What I have learned about millennials is:
- If they display good manners in a job interview, they are usually from a good family who have taught them right from wrong
- If they work hard, once again, their parents have played an important role in this work hard ethic
- If they start a lot of jobs but never finish them, you will never be able to change this - it is simply time to move them on
- Gossip cannot be tolerated. They have more influence with gossiping groups particularly if they are able to gain the trust of other millennials around them. They act in packs which is dangerous for small businesses, but less so for larger one's.
- Managing expectations is impossible, so get them to write down their expectations and work to their timeline. If it doesn't fit, don't employ them in the first place.
- Constantly communicate skills-based requirements that are essential to move up the ladder and be there to give them feedback on their work, so that their expectation isn't removed from what is reality.
- If they argue alot, and don't respect you... they won't ever change, nor will they be any different in future roles.
- No matter how much you give them, they expect more. This means that you need to think through how much you 'give' so that they don't set an unrealistic benchmark for the future.
- Find out what is important to them and see if you are able to help them achieve their goals through providing a forum for this to exist.
- Flexible time, celebrations and constant patting on the back is required - just get use to it.
People like me are from the old school of thought and adaptation is required to exist. When I worked for someone else, I worked really hard and long hours. In my own company, there is a no-overtime policy meaning that people should be able to get their jobs done easily within an 7.5 hour day period, with a full hour for lunch and no working weekends. It gives them work, life balance. Usually they still want more, but you need to work out what is possible with the size of your business and the profitability that derives from outcomes before falling prey trying to give them everything and finding out that no-one has a job at the end of the day.
It's a hard path to navigate. Only Google appears to have been able to do it well, but smaller businesses can keep on trying and adapting and hope for the best.