From 2020 millennials will comprise the largest demographic in the workforce. Their motivation, vision on labor market and knowledge of new technologies will form the basis of our workplaces. Let’s take a look at what this means for your organization.
Ambition: The Millennials Compass Study from the MSLGROUP (2014) showed that millennials are far more ambitious than previous generations. They want a clear career path with a strong emphasis on training and growth. Providing employees with one training session a year doesn’t cut it anymore – millennials are looking for continuous improvement and constant feedback. In other words, the yearly performance review needs to be transformed into an ongoing conversation. The advantage for employers is that both parties grow together and learn from each other.
International outlook: Millennials like to work with international colleagues and customers. The Millennials Compass Study has shown that while this group would rather remain in their own countries rather than relocating abroad, their ambitiousness could be enough to persuade them to accept a good job at an international company, especially if the living and work conditions benefit their partners, too.
Positivity: Millennials focus less on weaknesses and more on strengths than with previous generations. Gallup Organization (2016) research shows weak points don’t evolve in strong points but that strong points can grow endlessly. This is where opportunities arise for employers: give your employees the chance to build upon their strong points (with training, for example) and create a positive, can-do mentality in the workplace. Focus on what your employees can do, and you’ll see them work at their very best.
Responsibility: A job isn’t just a dull, day-to-day activity to millennials – they want a career that has impact. But because they usually rank lower in organisations than Baby Boomers, their work can be less stimulating and interesting than that of their older colleagues. For employers it can be difficult to give younger employers their own independent responsibilities, but according to leadership expert Jennifer Deal (in Strategy+Business), it’s a fallacy that millennials aren’t loyal to their employers. It’s worth engaging this group in a variety of projects so that they’re challenged and consequently will want to grow within the company.
Knowledge-sharing: Millennials want to see their employer as a ‘coach’ rather than as a ‘boss’. This can be challenging for employers: how do you ensure that your managers are on board with this type of leadership? And what do the millennials expect from their employers? The Millennials Compass Study indicates that millennials in particular think knowledge-sharing is important. Give your employees the chance to make mistakes and to learn from them so they can grow. Train your managers to give and ask for feedback, which will create an atmosphere of learning and trust.