The term “millennial” refers to those born between the early 1980’s and early 2000’s. According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey, it is estimated that by 2025, millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce; and a 2016 Forbes article stated that 40% of companies were currently employing 50 or more millennials. While much has been said about the challenges of integrating millennials into the traditional workplace (and while it’s true that this generation is not driven by the same employment factors as those of the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations), employers have begun finding ways to integrate the goals and objectives of millennials into the traditional workplace. With millennials making up such a large part of today’s workforce, many companies are already seeing the benefits they can bring to the table. Whether you run an innovative business with a progressive culture or operate within a more traditional industry, there are ways you can integrate millennial values into your office to create efficiencies and encourage innovation.
One of the benefits you’d be sure to gain by incorporating the millennial mindset into your workplace is increased innovation. Millennials are notorious for being risk-takers who think outside the box and are more willing to try new or varying methods for achieving something than the majority of their predecessors. Growing up in the age of ever-changing technology and thus being adaptable, this generation is well-equipped to work within dynamic environments and as such have learned to problem-solve however they can to find the best solution as fast as possible.
Most of us know that millennials are famously tech-savvy and are available to assist others with their “computer troubles.” But this trait can actually bring your company substantial value when utilized to its maximum extent. As a generation, millennials are the first to be born into an era with constant access to technology. Literacy with technology facilitates the use of shortcuts to create efficiencies, not to mention the encouragement of futuristic processes that cut down the use of paper and outdated, less efficient processes and procedures. Communication is made better across the board by the mobility offered by today’s technology, and employees are likely more willing to communicate from outside of the office than ever before. When people are able to communicate to anyone across platforms, anytime and from anywhere, collaboration becomes part of the work culture. Furthermore, better communication leads to transparency of thought, and there is better “buy-in” from all levels.
One of the values that drives millennials is the desire to try new ideas and experiences; they are motivated by dynamic goals, and are highly adaptable to change—traits which, if nurtured, could positively impact the entire workplace culture. By always striving for fresh ideas and processes, this need for change and constant progression can ultimately inspire others to seek the same things and think creatively to achieve that change. Doing things “just because” that’s how they’ve always been done is simply not an explanation millennials will accept—they will ask questions, find inefficiencies, and work hard to invent better processes.
WORKING WITH A PURPOSE
Millennials, perhaps more than any generation before them, seek meaningful, challenging work through which they feel they are making a difference. Something that surprises many employers, in fact, is that millennials in the workforce actually seek stability; but according to Forbes, as of 2016 at least 60% of millennials leave their company within three years. Simply put, if they do not feel valued or that they’re making a positive contribution, millennials will be very likely to leave for another opportunity that provides a better sense of purpose in more than just financial terms. Purposeful, challenging work also cultivates and enhances leadership skills: something which benefits the workplace as a whole, as well as the millennial employees looking to build long-term careers.
There is something to be said for the social culture of any workplace. While “work is work” to some, millennials have proven time and again that one of the supplementary values they seek in a career is connections with those around them—whether it be with their peers, their employers, or clients with whom they work. Trust is key for collaborative success, and it is trusting, positive relationships that millennials seek out. Organizations are more efficient—and successful—when all members are on board, share mutual trust with one another, and their goals are aligned. Sense of community is important to the millennial generation, so the greater sense of community and trust an organization has, the higher likelihood a millennial person will seek out that organization and stay long-term.
ADAPT OR BECOME OBSOLETE
No change happens overnight, and it is certainly harder to implement immediate, drastic change within an organization founded on more traditional workplace values. However, with the millennial generation making up an ever-increasing percentage of the global workforce—and driving much of the change within it—it is important for employers to be mindful of the benefits their organizations can receive by incorporating millennial values into their daily processes and overall work culture. To attract and retain this growing portion of our workforce, companies will need to adapt to the times and rely on their millennial employees to be the drivers of corporate evolution.
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