It seems the media has concluded that your year of birth unequivocally shapes your character.
If you were born between 1985 and 1995, you're destined to be narcissistic, entitled, lazy and over-sensitive. You spend your weekends frequenting the trendiest brunch cafe, smashing avocado onto your toast, and adding more indoor house plants to your collection.
But, if we break down those superficial barriers that mask the reality of the millennial work ethic, professionally speaking, millennials are accountable for some of the most positive changes to the workplace.
Millennials were born during the short window of time before the internet went mainstream. Instant messaging websites, MP3 players and the first social media platforms (remember Myspace?) were an integral part of their adolescence. And it seems that since they grew up in alignment with the ubiquity of the internet, their relationship with the digital world has shaped them into some of the most malleable, adaptable and motivated employees of today.
A deeper look into the mindset of the traditional millennial shows that they are far more focused on achieving their desired lifestyle than saving to leave the workforce, such as travelling, entrepreneurship, fitness, and innovation.
They don’t work to retire; they work to achieve.
In fact, statistics show that millennials are the best-educated generation yet, with many creating startups and businesses in their own bedrooms.
Which tells us they’re they’re not entitled or lazy. Just innovative and motivated.
So, if millennials are set to become the next generation of managers and leaders, it’s important to tap into their wants and needs in order to promote job satisfaction. Because as we know, they’re not shy of upping and leaving if a workplace isn’t satisfying their development needs.
The working routine
Creative behaviour isn’t bred within windowless cubicles, inside the rigid 9-5 office schedule. 77% of millennials say that flexible work hours makes the workplace more productive for people their age, and they value a work-life balance. Studies prove that flexible working benefits employers just as much as employees. This could be as simple as offering four condensed 10-hour working days, coworking spaces, AV technologies, or cloud capabilities.
The work environment
The workplace should therefore be designed to reflect this. With a large proportion of millennials burning out before the age of 30, breakout spaces and lunch breaks should be encouraged. A team mentality that promotes working collaboratively, relying on support and guidance from others, delegation, can help high achieving millennials in the workplace relinquish some of that stress, resulting in a more sustainable workload that helps to avoid burnout.
74% of millennials frequently feel ‘in the dark’ about how their managers and peers think they’re performing. Which is why communication, collaboration and transparency should be at the heart of any millennial-dominated working culture. Semi-annual review just aren't enough to satisfy the eagerness to achieve, as they crave feedback and direction from audacious managers and leaders.
Collaboration tools are essential in a millennial dominated environment. They crave interconnectivity and team communication, favouring instant messaging apps over traditional email. The instant gratification of the millennial worker lends itself well to cloud-based, hosted applications, since they are constantly connected to their devices. An approach which also fosters agility and mobility across locations and devices.
Let it be said they millennials expect a lot from the workplace. But they're not as selfish as the media might have us believe.
Millennials want to succeed, and by introducing new working technologies and patterns to the workplace, they do so with good intentions. If business existing operations aren't as efficient as they could be, this cohort will be the most likely to speak up. They're happy to contribute their digital literacy by implementing new applications, programs or processes that will benefit the company as much as themselves.
Far from their narcissistic stereotype, this is a generation of high achievers with unbridled energy and an eagerness to learn. They may sometimes give off the wrong impression, but simply put, they wish to create the best lifestyle for themselves, leaving a dent of success in their path. It can only be to the benefit of your organisation to nurture and pay attention to these employees because whether we like it or not, they represent the future of the workplace.