Understanding the millennial workforce

Understanding the millennial workforce

Employers and recruiters everywhere are preparing themselves for the influx of millennials about to take over the workforce.

The oldest millennials are now in their early 30’s and taking on more senior positions, potentially hiring other millennials themselves. Whole teams and offices are already filled with a 100% millennial workforce, so their significance should not go unnoticed.

The biggest issues facing employers of millennials are attracting them in the first place, and then retaining them. Often seen as unsatisfied and always expecting more, this generation needs some extra attention from managers.

According to motivational speaker and author Simon Sinek, there are four characteristics that make millennials the generation they are: parenting, technology, impatience and their current working environment.

Taking these into account when building and managing a team of millennials will help you get the best from them:

Parenting

Parenting techniques changed for millennials. Parents in the late 1980s and ‘90s threw away discipline in exchange for conversations and praise.

Children were told they could achieve anything they wanted to and by the time they grew up seemed to expect this to simply happen for them.

The view is that they were never prepared for failure or to work hard for their ambitions. According to Sinek this has created a generation “growing up with lower self esteem than previous generations”.

Technology

Millennials have grown up using technology as it evolved, adapting and learning alongside it.

Information was suddenly right there, there was always someone to talk to and boredom was dealt with by scrolling through social media or watching videos.

Millennials almost have an addiction to technology, turning to social media to feel better and constantly checking their phones to escape stress or awkward situations.

The result of this is that millennials “don’t know how to form deep meaningful relationships….because they never practiced the skillset, and worse, they don’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with stress.”

Impatience

Millennials have grown up in a world where everything is instant. Whether you want to buy something, or watch something, or meet someone, it’s all available immediately online.

When millennials join the workforce they are realising that things like job satisfaction, self confidence and promotions are not instant. This could explain why millennials are moving around jobs more than previous generations. When they don’t see the career progression or the job fulfilment they expect straight away, they move on to the next place hoping to find it there.

Environment

The workplace environment millennials find themselves in are usually so far removed from the life they’ve had. Previous generations were arguably more prepared for a regimented corporate system, but millennials are not.

When they start work and find they are not developing as fast as they would like, they believe they are doing something wrong.

So what can you do?

As Sinek points out, it is not their fault. It is the world they were born into.

As an employer of millennials you can help build their confidence and their skills. When they want to see immediate results, you can teach them that sometimes you have to work hard at things for a long time. They can begin to understand about the fulfilment you get from working hard on something for a long time.

Create a workspace where millennial employees feel appreciated and enjoy working, whether it’s with a relaxed environment or frequent feedback.

Millennials often need more platforms for discussion. Not only for reassurance, but also because they will want to discuss how they are feeling themselves.

Their confidence and desire to succeed quickly can be great assets in the right environment.

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