Working With Millennials
Depending on whom you ask, millennial employees are either the largest workplace generation or a close second to the baby boomers. Their demographic is often a debated one, with topics from entitlement issues, to motivation, to an adept use of technology; there is no shortage of conversation around this polarizing group of people.
What is a Millennial Worker?
To some, a millennial worker is someone who was born during a specific timeframe. To others, the millennial worker represents both a unique challenge and opportunity in the workplace. Different age generations are known for different preferences. The millennial worker has forced employers to adopt new practices as their population size demands attention. These workers have flipped the workplace upside down with the gig economy, working from home, reskilling, integration of technology, and more.
The term ‘Generation Y’ derives its name as the successor to Generation X. Gen X, as it is commonly referred to, is the generation that succeeded the Baby Boomers, born between the early 1960s and early 1980s. Instead of following the alphabet moniker given to it, Generation Y is most often referred to as Millennials.
How Old Are Millennials?
Different organizations classify the millennial age demographic differently. Commonly they are the age demographic born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. More specifically, Pew Reseach Center, a nonpartisan fact tank, defines the millennials age as anyone born between 1981 and 1996, or anyone between the ages of 23 and 38 in 2019.
How to Manage Millennials
Millennials are known for having different needs and wants than previous generations. Organizations are fundamentally altering how they manage their employees as a result and identifying new ways to motivate and accommodate their career aspirations.
Monster reports that millennials “offer an amazing array of hard skills in thousands of fields, from biomedical engineering to telemarketing.” These extensive hard skills are evident of the vast technological advancement that has occurred while their generation has come of age in the workplace. However, while they have advanced with technology, they continue to detail that while millennials were “raised to believe that hard skills matter most, (they) often fall short on soft skills.” Managers must supervise to accommodate this gap in soft skills, considering more non-tangible factors like happiness and motivation to get the most out of their employees.
Tips for Managing Millennials
Here are six tips you should consider:
- Offer training programs tailored to desired career trajectory, or ambitions
- Work with them to understand their motivations or goals
- Understand that money may not be a primary motivator; for example, work-life balance or remote work opportunities may offset compensation demands
- Integrate lateral movement opportunities into your organization or department(s)
- Reward and recognize them in new ways
- Create a cause or higher purpose for their work
Problems with Millennials in the Workplace
Millennials have presented new challenges for workplace managers as they may be referred to as lazy or unmotivated. Entitlement issues are a common problem. Millennials have developed a reputation of not wanting to put in the work before they experience the benefits. Notably, this sense of entitlement has impacted workplace culture, paid time off policies, and pay raises.
Dealing with Millennials in the Workplace
We offered six tips for working with millennials. To build on those tips, we suggest integrating regular efforts to understand their perspective. Generational changes span more than the workplace. They were raised differently, with different rules, and different enforcement of rules. They respect managers and colleagues based on ability and creativity more than title and rank.
Millennials, especially the younger ones (born in the nineties), have come to expect forms of instant gratification. It is pervasive throughout their entire lives. Information is readily available at their fingertips; credit applications get approved with little to no history. If they operate this way, the workplace will be no different. Instant gratification behavior can present itself in a variety of ways at work, such as expectations of rapid career advancement, substantial raises, high starting pay, and unlimited time off.
Millennial Behavior at Work
Millennials are autonomous. They expect freedom at work. Freedom to work remotely – from home, at Starbucks, or another state, and the freedom to pursue new ideas and train in new areas they may – or may not – be related to their current role. They aspire for careers that lack redundancy and offer new creative challenges. Understanding the new norms of the workplace, and how millennials have influenced their acceptance is a crucial part of evaluating millennial behavior at work.
Working with Millennials
Millennials navigate their careers differently than previous generations. As we mentioned they operate more autonomously, are not afraid to move laterally, and are more likely to leave a job for less money and a better fit. They have a lot to offer. Their impact is changing the workplace for the better. These changes will impact everyone – previous generations and those to follow. Ultimately they are not going away; colleagues and workplaces that are positioned to adapt will be able to realize the benefits they offer.
Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. When Maria is not working, she enjoys reading and spending quality time with her family.