In case you haven’t noticed, the workplace is changing. Technology is shifting how and where we work. Competition for customers is more intense than ever. Regulatory and environmental issues are also affecting business strategies.
More than just about any other business influence impacting business today is the changing workforce. As mentioned in the previous post, for the first time in history, there are four generations working side-by-side. The newest workers, Millennials, enter business full of excitement and “change-the-world” optimism. To get the most of these young workers, organizations must be proactive at updating managers’ skills including how to recruit, motivate, and develop Millennials.
It’s not just about dollars. Millennials want to know why they should take a specific job. How does it fit into their overall work and life goals? Justin Sherratt, CEO of Gawoop, notes from his company’s experience how important the sense of purpose is. “We found one of our best while he was still in university. Part of our offer to him was that we would help him network and move on if/when he outgrew us [advancement]. We made it clear that our company helps people get jobs [social good]. And we also made sure that we were working with cutting edge systems and software [training]. These three combined far outweighed salary and perks at that time.”
Here again, motivation isn’t just about dollars. Connecting the company vision with a purpose, building a sense of community, and regular feedback are all parts of a motivating environment.
So are helping the community and being involved in social causes. “Community service is part of their DNA. It’s part of this generation to care about something larger than themselves,” says Michael Brown, co-founder and CEO of City Year, which places young mentors in urban schools. “It’s no longer keeping up with the Joneses. It’s helping the Joneses.”
Although the Millennial generation could be the most educated young workforce to enter corporate America in decades, their education has not completely prepared them for their new business life. In addition to a thorough New Hire Orientation that will set expectations and help them make the transition from the university campus to the corporate campus, Millennials may need some help with basic business etiquette. While learning and adhering to normal office protocols may be easy for more seasoned workers, Millennials have grown up with everyone else adjusting to their wants and needs. One corporate consultant puts it this way. “Going into the workplace, they have an expectation that companies will adapt for them, too.” So helping Millennials shift from the education world to the world of business is key to getting the most from your new workers.
Just as technology is changing the workplace, so are Millennial workers. Companies that stand firm in their current management strategies and refuse to adapt to these unique and promising workers risk losing out on the benefits Millennials offer. These companies may also find it difficult to attract good talent. Remember, Millennials are good at voicing their likes and dislikes on social media. And that dislike may just be your organization!
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.