For the first time ever, Millennials - those born between 1980 and 2000 - have surpassed Generation X and the Baby Boomers before them.
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are now entering employment in huge numbers. They already form 25% of the workforce in the US, account for over half of the population in India, and by 2020, will form 50% of the global workforce, according to research by PWC.
However, this generation of 18 to 35-year-olds are often seen as lazy job-hoppers who work to live, rather than live to work. Although this is simply a stereotype for the majority, Millennials do present a challenge for managers, because they are used to living in a completely digital world.
A large majority of Gen Y (78%) say that having access to the technology they like increases their effectiveness at work, whilst 41% say they would prefer to communicate electronically than face-to-face or over the telephone.
More worryingly however, 44% of Millennials would leave their current workplace within the next two years if they were given the chance, meaning it’s more important then ever to manage them well.
But with a preferred flexible work schedule and a vast amount of unique needs, how can you manage the Millennial generation effectively?
Embrace technology in the workplace
Over a third of Millennials agree that their employer doesn’t leverage technology within their workplace well, such as cloud-based platforms. Consider introducing these systems if you haven’t already, or embrace them more if you use them very little. Using such cloud-based content means your employees can access data from anywhere, which Millennials enjoy.
Remember that Millennials have grown up using technology, and if your company doesn’t embrace modern systems and technology work tools, it’s hard for Millennials to embrace working at your company.
Motivate through a different approach
The Millennial generation is motivated by their creativeness and the freedom to be creative. They want to feel like they are doing something that is worthwhile, something that matters. Jeremy Kingsley, leadership expert and author of Inspired People Produce Results, said to Forbes: “This generation responds well to encouragement and immediate feedback. People need to know they’re being noticed.”
Being supportive can do this, as well as offering regular feedback. Simply saying ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ can encourage these employees to work hard. Millennials also value rewards for their hard work, so make it clear that you reward good work and regularly inform them how well they are doing or how they could improve to reach their goals.
Millennials like to offer something back, which can also motivate them greatly. Almost 70% say that giving back and being civically engaged is their highest priority, often thinking about helping others before themselves, such as helping the community.
Millennials have grown up in an environment where their opinion matters and they want to be heard. This means that strict rules within the workplace simply won’t work, and will cause a loss of respect between you and this generation of your employees.
Technology has allowed us to work effectively from anywhere and Millennials know this better than anyone. But managers aren’t always keen on letting their employees work flexibly, because they cannot keep an eye on the work being produced.
Ernst & Young’s Global Generations Research continues to reveal Millennials as the most dissatisfied at work and multiple surveys have found what they want most is flexibility in where, when and how they work.
By introducing a better work-life balance to your younger employees, you can increase their job satisfaction and productivity levels massively.
Understand their career goals
Research suggests that organisations should create a multigenerational work environment, encouraging Millennials to work closely with other generations. Millennials actually have similar career aspirations as those of Generation X and Baby Boomers in their desire to have financial security.
At the same time, Gen X and Baby Boomers are just as eager to work with a diverse group of people as Millennials are.
Understanding the career goals of your Millennial employees will not only help you understand and meet their needs within the company, it will also create a happier environment for them to work in. Incorporating different generations together to work in a team can produce great outcomes and get creative minds flowing.
With nearly half of Gen Y revealing they would leave their workplace within the next four years if they were given the chance, creating a good working environment is vital to keeping them on-board.
Managing Millennials can be a difficult task, but investing time in communication and creating work relationships will keep them committed and engaged within the business. You may be surprised by how creative and determined this generation tend to be.