Working with Millennials

We now hear the term “millennials” more and more these days. Millennials are a generational demographic after the iconic Gen X. Millennials are those that were born from the early 1980’s to the late 1990’s to early 2000’s. What does this mean to business owners, then? More and more, the millennial workforce is growing. Millennials, as an entire demographic, are characterized by traits or qualities that render them as being the total opposite of the previous generations before them. While most could be construable, some of the millennial characterizations are mythical. A sensible business owner will want to know and understand this demographic so as to assimilate their skills and ethics into a successful business.

First, Millennials are not driven as much by just money. A millennial’s top motivators in choosing which job to take now include location, his passion, daily responsibilities, and corporate culture. Young professionals these days prioritize healthy living and “making a difference”. If you have a largely millennial employee base, this might mean that you do not need to consider constant pay raises as much. Intrinsic rewards will be just as essential now as extrinsic compensation. Give your millennial workforce equal opportunities at activities or rewards that touch on their senses of meaningfulness, choice, competence and progress. Offer key roles in special projects as a reward for exceptional productivity, grant two week-paid leaves that they can take to backpack across Asia as an incentive, etc.

Second, a millennial will likely regard his job as Everything. Baby Boomer professionals were typically married with children by the time they entered the job world. These days, a millennial’s job takes prime in all of life’s priorities. Millennials believe their jobs define them as a person, so a successful career identifies them as being successful in life, in general. Leverage on this by understanding the goals of your young employees and map out development plans with them to help them get there.

Millennials dislike grunt work. As a group, people from this generation will not shy away from refusing tedious, routinary work. Millennials yearn for engaging, meaningful work right off the bat. This kind of assertiveness, while may be construed as merely the smugness of youth by the more seasoned set, could actually bring value to the businesses they belong in. Young employees with highly technical skills and a fresh outlook on life often jump right into the thick of things. Empathize with your millennial employees so as to appreciate this passion for meaningful assignments.

Millennials are not shy. Contrary to the Gen X or Baby Boomer culture, millennials were not educated traditionally with the “sit down and be quiet” methods. This whole generation has been raised to voice their opinions and to assert for equality rather than submission. While this may come across as disrespect to some, Millennials will certainly not shirk asking for what they need when they need it, thus avoiding festering issues that will one day boil over. They are wont to speak up about things that they believe need to be done so as to promote any kind of growth in and progress for the workplace.

Think what you will of Millennials, but any thought for or against this demographic will not change the fact that Millennials are here to stay. Today’s young job-seekers value job fulfillment over anything else and this holds several implications as to their work ethics, emotional buzz words, motivations, and workplace demeanor. Any forward-thinking business who are in it for the long term will know better and find ways to work with Millennials.