The idea of Millennials at work have been fascinating people for a long time. Millennials are those born roughly between the years of 1981 - 1996.
The corporate world acknowledges that the digital revolution would make them different from the generations before them. They haven't however, fully realised that the old way of working is no longer acceptable. This is something that will need to be remedied, especially when you consider that by 2020 50% of the workforce will be Millennials. Who not only lead differently but want to be managed in a more holistic, less capitalistic way.
Organisations are not ready for this change, and they should be!
After all Mavericks have been trying to teach organisations what to expect from the Millennial generation. Unfortunately those lessons weren't learnt and companies only made changes that affected Mavericks. They admired their talent and drive and were prepared to pay more for it.
The reason why Millennials are perplexing their organisations is because they want the special allowances that were previously only provided to successful Mavericks. Millennials entered the workforce and as they grew in numbers they started behaving like Mavericks (wilfully independent people). Even the ones that didn't have the personality of the Maverick, their talent or their experience.
What should companies do?
Organisations found themselves unprepared for this change and overwhelmed. Not only were their companies not structurally or culturally Millennial friendly, their managers were unable to cope with the change. Their method of leadership was too inflexible.
Companies need Maverick leaders versed in the Maverick DRIVEN Leadership™ methodology, to truly be able to lead their Millennial employees. It goes without saying that it is imperative to lead in this way for Maverick employees.
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The Maverick Paradox: The Secret Power Behind Successful Leaders provide some guidance.
(Click the picture, for details of the book)
Unlike Mavericks, they will harbour self-doubt and will need reassurances. Millennials need to have regular access to their managers , who will need to be inspiring and have high integrity.
Leaders will need to ensure that there is a lot of development in the Millennial's role and be prepared to act like a mentor to them. This will include timely and specific feedback.
Millennials are trying to protect themselves by continuously developing. This allows them to remain useful to the company and be more attractive to new companies. they want feedback and mentoring so that they can improve and have some assurances that what they are doing is the right thing.
Millennials have a large and engaged network and will expect to use it in their day to day activities. It's entirely possible that the solution to your company problem will come from someone not working in your organisation. This requires some thought and trust in your systems as well as your employee's ability to handle confidential information.
Millennials expect that the job that they do is meaningful and has a purpose. What they do should have a definite link to the company's mission and vision. The company culture should be results focused, collaborative and fun.
Unlike previous generations, the need to socialise with their co-workers and work in teams tend to be prioritised. This way of working is more comfortable to them because this is how they were educated. Classrooms were set up in group tables, and team projects were often the norm.
Many Millennials still live at home with their parents or in shared accommodation so they are used to working collaboratively with others. Having a good blend of working time and non working time is necessary. This is important to Millennials because they have grown up watching their parents work long hours and still be made redundant. They have seen them under appreciated and unable to see their families. They have seen them trapped and they do not want that for themselves. Being technology minded they know that they can work anywhere so are unsure of why they are expected to be in an office all day. Millennials will not conform to the expectation that lots of unpaid overtime will lead to more money or promotion.
These digital natives, however, expect to be connected to the web and their friends all the time. Research will often begin in their network or on the internet. Therefore outdated policies that restrict the use of the internet during the working day will be frowned upon. After all, they have become accustomed to knowledge being found via Google or within an app.
This changes everything.
True corporate social responsibility is important to the Millennial consumer and employee. This is the generation of causes, they know how to mobilise and affect change. Can you imagine your organisation mobilised by Millennial employees excited about your company and keen to convert their friends to your business. On the flip side, if you don't treat them well, EVERYONE is going to know about it.
Millennials expect true diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They believe in fairness and justice and expect their environment to represent this expectation. They truly believe that everyone should have equality of opportunity and that age, race, gender, sexual orientation or disability does not matter in the modern workplace.
Your company should truly live its values and enable the employee to be able to align their values to them. They should be no mismatch between what you say you do and what you actually do.
It goes without saying that Millennials expect integrity and fairness at every corner. They expect to make an impact almost straight away. The very idea of grunt work is an antithesis to them. They want autonomy, but when they need is mentoring to ensure that they are able to grow and develop.
Millennials are comfortable in moving jobs every couple of years if they aren't being developed properly. Or treated right.
Millennials at work - how are you going to ensure that they do?