Millennials are disrupting traditional business models – and likely will continue to do so for many decades to come. It is easy to understand why when you consider the sheer number of them: According to The New York Times, there are more 23-year-olds — 4.7 million of them — than any other age. By 2020, they will account for one-third of the adult population.
As Millennials rise in influence in your workplace, you may be scrambling to adapt your business model. There are plenty of managers and business owners who are quick to stereotype Millennials as self-centered and difficult to work with. However, that is not fair to young people in the workplace and, more importantly, it is not smart business.
Employers need to educate themselves on the values Millennials bring to their careers. There are some interesting behaviors exhibited by this group and by better understanding how they think, you can help to make them more productive at work.
The first thing to keep in mind is that Millennials (typically defined as being born between the early 1980s and 2000) are America’s most educated generation, with a higher portion attending college than ever before. As a group, they tend to treat employers as extensions of their learning experience – they will ask a lot of questions and prize independent thinking.They look at everything with a critical eye. Winning their loyalty is not easy, but once you have it you tend to keep it.
Millennials also want to be the owners of ideas. They would rather not be dictated to. They want a seat at the table, and they want to understand why they are being asked to do something.
Social media is often at the center of their lives. Employers and managers can take away two things from this fact: Millennials are digitally social, and they are very tech savvy. This is the first generation that has grown up with ubiquitous technology in their lives; they cannot imagine not having technology and the information it delivers right at their fingertips. In your business, that means that utilizing social collaboration tools is a great way to engage Millennial employees. It also means that you need to keep up to date with shifts in technology, which admittedly is not always easy and can get expensive.
For business owners and managers, it is important to acknowledge that the workplace has changed. You cannot hold back the tidal wave – look at those population numbers at the top. To effectively motivate and engage Millennials, management must leave behind the old way of doing things and help Millennial workers to succeed.
It is just smart business.
Contact us at 215.441.4600 if you have questions or would like to discuss how this topic may impact your business.