A (millennial) HR take on the employment of Millennials.
Millennials, the generation born between the mid-1980’s and the early 2000’s—larger in population than even the Baby Boomers—are conscious of their connection to the world around them in much greater numbers than older generations.
Interest in social issues, creating change in the world, being part of positive action and experiencing other cultures are all motivations. They spend more money and time with organisations that reflect their own interests, for example giving back to society, having a clear message, and standing for something. When one considers all that, it is not surprising to learn this attitude also extends to the places they want to work.
If you are like most business leaders, you’ve no doubt noticed a trend in the way employees behave in recent years. Most likely you consider it a negative trend — too much entitlement, not enough loyalty, no work ethic, only interested in themselves, and on and on.
You should consider that perhaps these are not negative trends, just different ones. Things aren’t always what they seem with Millennial employees. To better understand who your Millennial employees are and what drives them to succeed, perhaps it’s easiest to understand who they are not.
They are not you.
Boomer managers have a tendency to lose the interest of their Millennial employees by looking too far into the future. Millennials live in the time frame based on right now. Their world has proven that nothing is a guarantee — from nationwide redundancies to Brexit, they have decided that there’s not a lot you can count on.
Friendship can be especially tempting in situations where managers and employees are close in age. When activities outside of the office become too regular, too casual, or largely social in nature, it is time to examine how this will affect your role as a boss and leader. What Millennial employees need most from their boss is a guide — not a social life.
The myths surrounding today’s young employees are not always what they seem. Attitudes toward work, life, loyalty, and respect have all changed but each is still considered valuable. In fact, some of the demands made by today’s youth are creating positive benefits for employees in every generation.
Millennials are making choice, some of which will last a lifetime in an era of dramatic political and cultural events. Organisations keen to embrace this age group will need to ensure they too, hear their concerns and that their entire culture is flexible and agile enough to allow for a mix of different generational points of view.
This is where HR Directors and HR leadership teams come into their own, asking tough questions to the executive team and board.
Do we know what we stand for and are we willing to fight for it?