Millennials are a misunderstood group when it comes to the workplace. They are sometimes misconstrued as lazy, lacking focus, and temperamental. This is not the truth. Like any group of people, there will be diverse work habits, but the majority of millennials are not made of those qualities. It's just that millennial values, priorities, and expectations at the workplace are different from prior generations. For example, values like job security and financial compensation, coveted by prior generations, are not in a millennial expectation of their working career.
According to Forbes.com, by the year 2030, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. So this means that managers will have to shift and adapt their personnel managerial skills to accommodate the priorities and expectations of the common millennial.
What are these priorities and expectations that millennials have to be fulfilled and productive in the workplace? What keeps a millennial from showing up late, missing shifts, and job-hopping from one workplace to another?
Work / Play / Family Balance
Millennials do not like to be told that they have to be at work at the same time, for example, 9 to 5, every day. They would like to have a choice in what hours they work. When they have a choice in what hours they work, and they feel like they are accomplishing something, they will work harder and longer. Getting the job done is what they focus on, not when it gets done.
They don't like to work extra hours just for the sake of getting paid, especially if the work is not engaging. They feel like they are wasting their time on something boring and insignificant when they could be home with family, learning a skill, or doing something more interesting.
The Fix: Provide flexible hours and, if possible, let them choose when they want to work. The manager will be rewarded with greater productivity.
A Meaningful Purpose
Millennials are not interested in just making and selling hamburgers, getting paid, and doing it all over again. They want to feel like they are contributing to society and making a difference in the overall picture of life.
Business2community.com says, "According to a study, making a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition to 84% of millennials".
The Fix: Make sure employees – especially millennials – have a clear understanding of the mission and value statements of the company. These base values should be the foundation for everything that happens at work.
Millennials are not interested in career advancement because they only crave professional recognition and financial compensation. They are interested in career advancement because they want to be able to continue to be engaged and interested in the work they're doing. Staying in one position for what seems like an eternity to the millennial spells stagnation and boredom and won't be tolerated. Time to move on to other things.
Also, if they advance in their career, they may be able to be decision-makers as far as the mission of the company and how the company could go about contributing to a greater good for the big picture rather than just selling hamburgers or widgets and making profits.
The Fix: Mentor the millennial to learn and grow because that is what they thrive on. What they don't need is lengthy advice lectures. Communicate to them in the form of formal or informal feedback, such as mini-reviews, to help them on their way.
Millennials are here to stay, and soon, they will be the status-quo. With new generations comes different work habits, diversity in what is valued, and how to go about accomplishing a goal. As more millennials come into the workforce, the workplace will change. The most successful companies will change with them, download our guide to learn more about staying agile in a world of change.