Meeting with business leaders over the past few months, one topic continually comes up in conversation, Millennials. Huffington Post research shows by the year 2020, Millennials will make up 50% of the global workforce. Some companies have already surpassed that mark and are focused on maneuvering a multigenerational workforce.
While it’s a good thing businesses are focused on what they need to do to meet the needs of their employees, the question is, how are Millennials different from any other generation. Do you question their work ethic because they don’t want to work 60 hours a week, maybe they’re realizing the goal we’ve all chased, work/life balance? If they don’t know proper business etiquette, teach them. There have always been “stereotypes” cast on sectors of the workplace, whether it relates to age, gender or race. As Leaders, it’s always been our job to look beyond any differences and meet the needs of our company.
I’ve worked with dozens of younger co-workers over the past several years and hadn’t even thought about the fact they’re Millennials, until these recent conversations. As I reflect on how I worked with these individuals, most offered great, outside the box thinking, were highly motivated and certainly when I had a question about technology, I asked them first. I didn’t work with them any differently than some of my more tenured co-workers. And like any business, no matter what generation someone fell into, employees were hired, some were not the right fit, some didn’t have the work ethic needed or simply weren’t engaged in our overall business goals and they didn’t stay long.
Within the past few weeks I’ve met two young professionals who fall into the category of millennials, both are Leaders in their organizations and are learning all they can to continue to climb the corporate ladder. That’s where their own companies are forward thinking, they have them in training programs, working with mentors, doing all they can to prepare them for their roles. Those same organizations are looking at ways to better communicate with their employees, many of whom are Millennials. They’ve realized an email doesn’t speak to everyone when you disseminate information.
Instead of being frightened by the multigenerational workforce we have before us today, why don’t we seize the opportunity? As a company, this is a time to refocus on your purpose, remind your team often that what they’re doing today is helping achieve company goals. As Leaders within organizations, remember the basics of your job, hire the right candidate for the job, whether they are a Millennial, Gen X or Baby Boomer. Get to know your team members through weekly or bi-monthly 1-1 meetings, find out what motivates them, tune into their strengths, strategize where they fit best in your organization, train them and recognize outstanding efforts.
If you’re concerned about the millennial generation leading our way into the future, take the time today to start working together. Most important in the entire process, we all need to embrace the fact we have a lot to learn from each other along the way.