The Problem Generation. They have no patience, no grit and no resilience. These are some of the thoughts I have recently heard associated with millennials. However, the truth is that, although leaders are finding it a challenge to understand their carefree mindset and unwavering confidence, there are many key reasons why it will benefit your organisation to impress the new generation as much as you hope they can impress you.
1. They are innovators.
As Forbes writers Caroline Howard and Natalie Sportelli express “The burning desire of the youth to reinvent the world” never grows old. There is no doubt that if your process can be done more quickly or efficiently, it is likely that the millennials within your team will find a way. They are known for trying to minimise effort to maximise free-time and this could bring immeasurable progress for your business as they help to streamline processes through working smarter and adding useful strategies along the way. If a new piece of technology may be useful to your team, millennials will be the first to suggest using it, and they will usually know how. What can seem like a lack of focus and a need to constantly go after the next thing, may actually be extremely useful to your organisation in the form of innovative thinking and use of resources.
2. They are well-connected
Millennials are connected to many demographics throughout society. From their grandparents’ siblings, to their parents friends and their own peers. Chances are, they will know somebody within your target market. They may even know one of your clients. More importantly, they are not afraid to leverage these relationships. They have grown up with the notion of networking, relationship marketing and social media and they know the effect that word of mouth can have. You should create a workspace that encourages them to use this power for good.
3. They will shame your bad behaviour
If your workplace lacks engagement, flexibility or culture, millennials will shout it from the rooftops. Whether it is venting to their friends, blogging or warning off prospective employees, they can bring your house of cards tumbling down with just one sentence. They have many (very) public channels for communication with lots of followers (on instagram and in life) and even if your company has an airtight social media policy, it is unlikely you will stop them from anonymous blogging or lunch-time venting. However, you can leverage their audience to your benefit if you create an exciting and motivational workspace for them to rave about. You could even dream up a creative ‘hashtag’ for the Christmas party!
4. They only stay put when they really want to be there
Although they have attracted a reputation for ‘job-hopping’, millennials will stay put if they enjoy a workplace. In fact, they are just as likely to stick with an employer as their Gen X counterparts (Pew Research Centre, 2018). What is for certain though, is that they will be quick to explore other options if they aren’t happy in a job. However, this is absolutely a positive thing for your organisation, as it means that the millennials who do stick it out, really want to be there. What could be more desirable than a workforce who are genuinely passionate about your organisation?
5. They are the future of your organisation
Millennials, Gen Z and generations to come are the future. They are future political leaders, teachers, sportspeople and most importantly for you, the future of your organisation. When you alienate millennials you are putting a shelf-life on your business and if you are striving for many years of growth and success, it is important that you induct and retain employees year on year. In order to adequately prepare millennials for the challenges which await them you should provide engaging work and adequate development opportunities.
The overarching way to successfully retaining millennial employees is compromise. It’s important for you and your organisation to reflect on what exactly you require from your employees, their KPIs if you like. Outside of these requirements, you should strive to work with all employees (not just millennials) on their needs, and try to provide the best possible environment to encourage productivity and innovation. After all, this can only be of benefit to your business!