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Understanding Millennials in the Workplace & Workforce

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Millennials are an overanalyzed and often poorly portrayed generation, but they are here to stay. Contrary to public belief, they aren’t trying to destroy the workforce, just change it a little. That can be perceived as scary but we can help provide you with an understanding of millennials in the workplace & workforce!

We have all heard a stereotype about Millennials that makes it slightly unnerving to realise they are our future

They are an overanalyzed and often poorly portrayed generation. The Guardian reports that in 2025, 72% of the global workforce will be Millennials. So, with that many employees born between the 80’s and the 90’s in the workplace, what do you do? Contrary to public belief, they aren’t trying to destroy the workforce, just change it a little. That can be perceived as scary to older generations, but we can help provide you with an understanding of millennials in the workplace & workforce!

Who are the Millennials?

Millennials, sometimes referred to as “Generation Y”, is a generation born between 1980 and 2000. A generation brought up alongside the creation of technology and truly a product of their rapidly changing times.

Millennials are perceived to be impatient, due to growing up with instant technology. Thanks to their Baby Boomer parents, they are also said to be entitled. Claims have been made that they need to be hand-held, are lazy and apparently single-handedly killing off industries. No wonder with all the negative stereotypes they get they are terrifying to older generations!

What is often left out is the fact that they are tech-savvy, up for a challenge, looking to develop a career & value work-life balance over a paycheck. Millennials are looking to be a part of something bigger than themselves and want to be able to prove that they can make independent decisions while valuing teamwork.

Why are Millennials important to the workforce?

Other than the fact that Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce to date, they are also the most educated and have been immersed with technology from an early age. A grouping of people who value flexibility and diversity progression. These are values that match HR morals which then benefits the entire organization.

They not only are “smarter” than their generational predecessors, but they are the people you are selling to. Millennials are a generation that spans almost all consumer platforms. In the workplace, they act as a personal focus group and they are not afraid to let their opinions be heard. A generation with so much social consciousness results in employees who choose to get up to go to work because they care about what they do. They do not work for solely a paycheck, they work in companies that they believe the message of.

office fun - employees playing table tennis at work to relax

What do Millennials want out of the workplace?

Opposite to the generations before them, Millennial career priorities are far from job security and structure. In fact, many reports show that Millennials tend to job hop multiple times throughout their careers. What they are looking for is flexible work schedules, a company who is making a difference, benefits & professional development opportunities.
Millennials are used to a team culture so working within a collaborative setting rather than competitive is where they thrive. They look for a boss who acts more as a mentor than an authority figure. Unlike the stereotype, Millennials want to work on a project that forces them to learn more and work harder. Things that give them the big picture, so they truly understand their roles allow them to contribute meaningfully.
The myth is that a Millennial needs hand holding, that is not true, but it is not exactly false. Millennials thrive from coaching and feedback, more so than the generations before them. Consistent coaching keeps a Millennial engaged which is why constant feedback and technology provided feedback has become key.

Related:  7 of the Best Ways to Provide Employee Feedback 
woman working in front of a laptop with headphones in open office space

How can you adapt your company for Millennials?

Incorporate ways to give feedback often and easy.

Millennials feel as if the corporate review process is flawed because it only happens once a year. Add regular reviews or mini feedback sessions. This feeds their need for leadership and guidance. It might just be the Millennials demanding them, but all employees will appreciate it. You, as a manager, are a mentor to them. They want to learn from you and understand the whole picture instead of just their tasks.

Be sure to offer them a competitive salary.

Although money is not something that truly motivates a millennial, they still need it especially since they are one of the generations with the largest amounts of debt. The opportunity to grow within the company and within their career is something that is also very important to them. Allowing transparency when it comes to business decisions is also something that makes a Millennial feel like they work within a community that is trusting and open.

They want their office to feel connected.

A work-life balance is very important to a Millennial but that doesn’t only mean once they punch out for the day. Make your office fun & social. This is what a Millennial really means when they want a “startup vibe.” A company who makes things happen that they believe in, with people that they like in an environment that is encouraging creativity and fun. You don’t need to have a slide in your office to be considered “fun” (although that would be REALLY fun!) just encourage openness and a family vibe.


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