Integrating Millennials into the Workforce
Although you might think that Millennials are just beginning to make their mark in their respective industries, most of them have actually been in the workforce for a while. According to the Pew Research Centre, “anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22 to 37 in 2018) will be considered a Millennial”. Still, generations before Millennials, also known as Gen Y, are still hesitant about giving work responsibilities to the young individuals as they try to prove themselves, a valuable asset to society.
It is true that this generation’s work ethics and values have majorly shifted from those before them, many of whom dream of becoming their own bosses. Therefore, it is important to understand how to increase productivity as well as instil a sense of belonging among Millennials. Here are some tips on integrating Millennials into the workforce successfully.
What do Millennials Value in the Workplace?
According to Aperian Global, Millennials in the workplace, place a high value on the following:
- Open Communication. Millennials want to be heard. They believe in honesty and truth, regardless of seniority or level of authority within a business.
- Witnessing leaders in action. Millennial workplace culture places a high value on the action. They want to see their bosses in action and learn from what they see.
- Progressiveness. Millennials crave the ability to work in a progressive environment where they can collaborate with their colleagues and complete meaningful work
How to Attract Millennials
For Millennials to enjoy what they do for a living, it requires a different approach from the usual high salary, high demand course of action. Millennials need to have passion, to reach a goal that they and/or the company has set for them:
- Connect them to a cause. Millennials are not working to complete a mission or make themselves rich. They want to connect with a common cause or work toward some kind of greater good. Working towards a purpose instead of working towards a commission, drives the workforce of Millennials.
- Allow them to complete meaningful work. Millennials want to know that they are valued, that they are doing a good job and that their desires are being fulfilled. Instead of throwing them the responsibilities that nobody else wants, find out what their passion lies in.
Whichever line of work they are talented in – whether it’s design, writing or accounting – giving them the opportunity to contribute professionally as well as grow personally will allow them to be satisfied with their work.
- Offer flexibility. Millennials aren’t about that 9-6 at your desk, 5 times a week. To ensure that they stay motivated, there must be a degree of flexibility. Whether it’s being able to work from home, starting at later times or even just being able to wear jeans on days that are not casual Friday.
- Let them be heard. As the generation that was fully exposed to social media, they tend to be more outspoken and open-minded. Millennials want to know that they are making an impact. There is a reason that the start-up industry attracts many. Often it is not about the pay – but the flexibility and also being able to a voice that impacts the big decisions of the company. Therefore, if you want to retain these individuals at multinational corporations and/ or giants, be sure to give them a voice and let them share their ideas.
- Show your awareness. Millennials care deeply about environmental issues and social rights. Let them know that their values are aligned with company values. Find ways to show that the company is socially responsible and everyone benefits.
What More Can Leaders Offer to Millennials
- Workplace support and on-job training. On-the-job training allows millennials to learn from experienced employees and fit in with their active learning style for effective knowledge transfer. Activity-based learning with technical orientation is very important. Training should also include variety and flexibility, such as special projects or responsibilities that assign millennials with a sense of autonomy and empowerment.
- Show your work. They who have only begun their career know that they are at the bottom of the corporate chain. Therefore, they are more open to the art of apprenticeship. One of the best ways to learn is by watching an expert, so inviting millennials to observe experienced employees in action is a great way to train them.
For example, if a millennial on your team struggles with her phone manner, invite her to sit and listen to you make calls. If another team member writes too-casual emails, then CC him on more of your messages and invite him to learn your style. The added bonus of this transparency is that the younger employees will have a birds-eye view of the high-level work you do and how much they might have to learn or evolve to get to your position.
- Get a mentor from another generation. Most are inspired by those with longer experience and accolades to showcase for it. Hold town halls or small talks for your colleague (from another generation) to share about his/ her experience in the company. This is sometimes called reverse mentoring, co-mentoring or reciprocal mentoring.
All in all, Millennials value teamwork, collaboration and a sense of changing the world. For the best results, do not be afraid to give them the necessary feedback and attention that they need to learn.