Business writer, Ty Kiisel, wrote an article for Forbes called, “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme -- Millennials in the Workplace”. I thought it was a good article illustrating the different ways in which millennials want to interact in the workplace, and what they need to feel satisfied in their roles.
The differences in generations and their ideologies are almost always viewed negatively by the “older” generations. For example, have you ever heard a Baby Boomer say, “We really need to watch these millennials, they are going to do great things”? I typically don’t hear those types of comments. In fact, it is almost always the opposite viewpoint where one generation thinks negatively about another.
Regardless of which generation is “better”, we know that they are certainly different in a lot of ways. More specifically their expectations about work, work-life balance, feedback, etc. are different. Working for an HR Consulting firm that specializes in employee selection and development, it is always helpful to understand these generational differences, and maybe, more importantly, understand how they can potentially play out in the workplace.
If companies have the ability to understand these differences and also have the capacity to make changes to their internal systems and culture it will not only increase productivity but job satisfaction as well. It can really be a win-win for the organization and its employees.
So what do millennials need? Plain and simple, millennials want and need….
Increased knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses
Increased opportunities and resources for professional development
Increased feedback about their performance
Kiisel’s article references that 80% of millennials want regular feedback and 75% of them want a formal mentor. When you think about it this makes complete sense. This generation has grown up with computers, the internet, and now social media. People are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. in their daily lives and it has become the new norm. They can get immediate comments and feedback from their peer groups (or a larger audience if they want) on almost anything they are doing. Why should they expect that work-life be any different? I think this point is accepted by most but if you still don’t believe me, take a look at The Council Economic Advisers report from October of 2014. They put forth 15 facts about millennials and this one is #2.
And this isn’t just about giving millennials what they want without asking for something in return. Contrary to the popular opinion held by the baby boomers, engaged millennials actually stay with their early-career employers longer. So organizations that get this right have the ability to reap the benefits of lower turnover.
So how do organizations go about engaging their millennials? The good news is that the technology related to HR is starting to catch up with the times. There are methods to uncover the underlying strengths and weaknesses of each employee, and new platforms exist that organizations can use to give their employees more frequent feedback. The organizations that I work with are always trying to find ways to engage and develop their workforce. This topic is only going to gain momentum as more and more millennials move into leadership roles.