Entitlement, laziness and a lack of loyalty. These are just three of the accusations levelled at Millennials in the workplace.
These stereotypes are born out of the necessity for businesses to help understand and redefine the needs of a changing workforce. Far from being entitled and lazy, Millennials simply have different values and different expectations.
For businesses, understanding these values and delivering on the expectations of a changing workforce is an essential ingredient for success. Why? Because a happy workforce is a successful workforce.
Speaking to Mashable, Emma Gannon, author of The Multi-Hyphen Method, a book about what the future of the workplace might look like, says the ‘entitled’ label sticks to Millennials because they’re frustrated by outdated workplaces and employers who aren’t open to working differently.
Turning this frustration into positive and productive energy is one of the keys to unlocking the potential of a modern business. Here are five ways we think employers can meet the needs of a Millennial workforce.
1. Use technology
Millennials grew up with technology at their fingertips. Digitalisation is part of their everyday and has changed the way they do everything from listening to music and watching TV through to their buying habits and behaviours. From an employers perspective, embracing digitalisation and using technology in the workplace can have significant impacts on both employee engagement and customer satisfaction. Take this example from retailer, Swarovski, who future-proofed their staff retention by allowing their employees to bring their mobile phones into the workplace.
2. Don’t be afraid of change
As Gannon says, Millennials get frustrated when they find themselves in corporate organisations that open to change, and are reluctant to break with the status quo. They are a generation of disrupters who grew up using ‘hacks’ and shortcuts to get things done quicker and more effectively. As an employer, be open to this disruption and to change if outdated processes aren’t working. This could be something as simple as reducing admin time by automating key process like scheduling if your business uses shift workers.
3. Deliver balance
While Baby Boomers and Gen X were consumed with climbing the ladder, Millennials have other priorities, with the quality of their work life being top among them. So much so that many would rather take a pay cut if it meant they were more fulfilled in their role. Autonomy, empowerment and giving them control are all ways to help give them better work life balance.
4. Have a strong purpose
The above is helped by having a strong purpose. By knowing what your purpose is, you can then define the context around it and, from there, give your employees autonomy - which in turn will fuel business growth.
Gannon adds: "Without doubt, Millennials have different expectations of their employers. They want to work for employers that show good corporate citizenship, are fair in their behaviour, that communicate with openness and transparency, and that have values-driven leaders who really do walk the talk."
By having this clear purpose, and transparency to go with it, it makes it much easier for your employees to buy-in to what you’re doing, where you’re going and their own role in helping you get there.
In under two years more than 50% of the workforce will be Millennials. Changing your workplaces, alongside adapting your more traditional habits and behaviours, will be a integral part of making the most of this demographic’s new, and exciting, skill set.
This is something we believe forms part of the Workforce Revolution. You can watch this special on demand webinar from our Founder and CEO, Erik Fjellborg, to find out if your business is ready for it.