The oldest of the Millennial group – Gen Y, those born between 1981 and 2000 – are turning 35 this year. Regardless of what mainstream media says about this much-talked-about group, you can’t deny that 35 has put the supposedly lazy, narcissistic, entitled generation in full-on adulting mode.
There are 19 years worth of attributes within the Millennial group. You likely have Millennials working for – or rather, with – you, given that they comprise one-third of the workforce (per the U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). But if, for some reason, you’re still unsure as to what Gen Y brings to the table, here are 5 top things that you’ll experience working with Millennials.
Everyone has good ideas; the trick is to create an environment where your people, no matter what generation they fit into, feel comfortable expressing those ideas. Gen Xers and Boomers might not be so keen to share as openly but Millennials are all for it; they’re wired to voice their ideas, concerns and opinions in the name of bettering the organization.
They can teach us a thing or two about work/life balance. Many Millennials watched their Boomer parents sacrifice off-work time for what looked like little to no payoff, literally and figuratively. They don’t want to repeat that scenario so have become better at multitasking and getting the work that needs to be done, done. They will work their arses off for you when they’re at work but don’t expect them to let that bleed into off-work time. In the same vein, sitting at their desk until 5 PM when they were done their work two hours earlier is not an efficient use of anyone’s time. Sidebar: keep in mind that the longing for a life outside of work is not exclusive to Millennials.
There’s this idea that, in many industries, there are loads of talented individuals coming in and then expecting to be Directors immediately. This goes hand in hand with the sense of urgency that most Millennials have when it comes to their careers, so it’s important to harness that drive and compromise. No, they can’t become a Director in two years, but they can move up to this position with all this responsibility. It’s about framing an advancement plan that works for you and for them. Another sidebar: the average work tenure for a Millennial is two years, a good tidbit to keep in mind when creating that advancement plan. (Read: don’t be shocked when they leave your company for another opportunity after 18 months.)
Millennials are concerned about everything when it comes to ethics, and therefore want to work for ethical companies. Given their entrepreneurial mindsets, they likely have some ideas as to how your business can become more ethical than it is now. Ethical practices are not something to shy away from, so this is a good one to run with.
Always give feedback. This crazy rumour concerning Millennials’ need for constant feedback – and recognition where recognition is due – is totally true: they love feedback. But the flip side of that coin is that they want a mentor or a partner at work, not a boss who lords over them all the time and micromanages. Since once-per-year employee reviews are considered archaic in most organizations, think about the opportunity to create a feedback system that works for everyone on your staff, but that happens much more frequently than every 365 days.
Written By Jess Campbell