Millennials in the Workplace, Understanding and Dealing with Them
Many words have been used to describe millennials. This age group has habits and characteristics that differ from the previous generation. Many would say they’re adventurous, fearless, and tech-savvy. On the other hand, some people consider them pampered and entitled.
Millennials are increasingly taking over the workplace. Experts believe that the millennial workforce will constitute more than 75% of total workers by 2025. Dealing with this new cohort of people is a different ball game for managers, leaders, and executives. Their motivations, interests, and work style aren’t the same as previous generations.
Understanding Millennials in the Workplace
How can management deal with millennials? What approach or leadership style should you adopt to ensure millennials are happy and motivated? This post will discuss the things you need to know about millennials to help you manage them better in the workplace.
What are Millennials?
Millennials also referred to as gen Y or generation Y, are a demographic age group born between 1981 and 1996. They are the sons and daughters of baby boomers and early generation X. Millennials are essentially anyone aged between 25 and 40 as of 2021. They are known as millennials because they grew into adulthood when the world transitioned from the 2nd to the 3rd millennium AD.
Characteristics of Millennials
Most millennials grew up during the emergence of the internet, social media, video games, and personal computers. The environment they were exposed to shaped their traits and characteristics.
Let’s explore some of the characteristics of millennials:
Millennials Are a Social Group
As we mentioned above, millennials grew up with the advent of social media and digital devices. Their exposure to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter makes them the most inter-connected age group. Millennials grew up in an environment where communication is faster and more convenient.
The sociability of millennials is evident in both online and real-life environments. For example, most millennials value having as many friends and followers as possible on social media sites.
Millennials also share a lot of information via the internet. They share habits on Facebook and WhatsApp, opinions via Yelp and Twitter, talents through YouTube, and so on. Millennials value shopping, traveling, and dining in social groups. Most of them prefer doing activities that bring about socialization, whether with their peers, work colleagues, or extended family.
Millennials are the most tech-savvy age group of all generations in the workplace. They can learn to use apps and software quicker and with little effort. Millennials are also more likely to grasp complex technological information quicker than previous generations.
Having grown up in a world that embraces technology, millennials expect the workplace to have technological tools and software. They expect virtual tools for communication, task management, presentation, and so on. Millennials prefer being in a workplace that adopts and utilizes the latest technology.
Most millennials crave adventure and new experiences. They view work travel as a fun opportunity, not a burdensome one. Millennials also like traveling to new places and experiencing foreign cultures and beliefs. Millennials are more willing to try out activities that many in other age brackets might consider dangerous. They love the thrill and excitement of danger and often long for exotic experiences.
Although not as ethnically diverse as generation Z, millennials are more open to accepting and embracing new cultures and ethnicities. They are also more likely to intermarry and foster friendships with people of any gender, race, or ethnicity.
This is currently the most educated age group in the workplace. They have a passion for learning and access to many educational resources. Millennials also have access to student loans and higher education.
The millennial approach to learning isn’t the same as previous generations. Most millennials grew up in an environment where learning isn’t formal or curriculum-based. They can learn through online tools such as Google, YouTube, and education resources like Udemy and Coursera.
Characteristics of Millennials in the Workplace
We’ve now discussed a few characteristics of millennials in general. How about their traits in the workplace? Here are seven characteristics you are most likely to find in millennials at work:
- Passionate about learning
Millennials are deeply curious, and they love to learn and try out new things. They desire to gain knowledge and skills that help them further their career and business goals. Most millennials are also lifelong learners. They want to keep learning even after finishing their educational journey.
Millennials are more likely to value a company that fosters personal development. Beyond knowing how to do something, millennials also want to know why they should do it. They want to connect the relevance of a task or skill to their personal goals or the company’s big picture.
- Value work-life balance
Millennials don’t just want to work their entire life. They also crave to enjoy life outside work. Millennials desire to travel, gather new experiences, and spend more time with friends and loved ones. They value a workplace that enables them to have a better work-life balance.
According to a survey by FlexJobs, most millennials care about work-life balance more than high compensation. They are willing to get a lower salary to achieve a better work-life balance.
- Task-focused instead of time-focused
Millennials grew up in an environment equipped with the internet and cloud technology. They believe in working remotely. Millennials don’t desire the traditional “9 to 5” routine. They want a workplace that allows them to create their work schedule.
Millennials place more importance on accomplishing tasks rather than focusing on the time spent at work. They desire a work environment that values productivity, not the number of hours put in the job. It doesn’t matter when or where you do your tasks, as long as you achieve your deliverables and get the job done.
- Value feedback and recognition
Millennials value regular feedback rather than the annual performance assessment. They want advice and mentorship weekly, if not daily, and are highly receptive to feedback. They grew up in the advent of social media, where everyone gets instant validation. They desire to get recognition for their tasks, talents, or skills in the workplace.
A simple “you did a good job” or great work today” can go a long way to motivate a millennial to keep doing their best. They crave a workplace that appreciates their strengths and helps them polish up on their weaknesses.
- Highly adaptive to change
Millennials are more likely to embrace change than the previous generations. They are open and highly adaptive to changes in the workplace. Millennials recognize that their career and business landscape changes constantly and don’t want to be behind the curve.
Most millennials are also willing to leave a company for another that offers them the workplace environment they crave. They can be loyal, but only if the employer gives them want they want, for example, high compensation, work-life balance, and personal development.
- Value teamwork and collaboration
Millennials prefer a workplace that fosters teamwork and collaboration among employees. They want to collaborate on solving problems, performing tasks, and doing projects. Millennials crave a social, fun, and relaxed work atmosphere.
Since most of them grew up in a sharing economy where people share opinions, information, and interests, they want a workplace with the same socialization and collaboration. Millennials also desire to contribute towards company growth. They want to be allowed to provide ideas and suggestions that contribute towards problem-solving.
- Willing to challenge the status quo
Millennials are open to giving ideas and opinions, even though they contrast from their superiors. Their willingness to challenge the status quo does not come from contempt for authority. It comes from an attempt to achieve what’s best for the company. Millennials don’t believe in merely following orders from their superiors without question.
- Desire to build a relationship with their managers
Millennials prefer working with a superior they can foster a relationship with, both in and out of work. They want to be comfortable talking to their managers about career advancement, personal growth, among other things. They would like to work with a manager who’s both a mentor and a friend.
What Activities Do Millennials Like to Do?
We’ve now established that millennials aren’t focused solely on work. They also desire to enjoy or build a life outside of work.
Let’s explore the activities that millennials like to engage in:
- Camping and hiking
- Spending time with loved ones
- Exercising and engaging in sports
- Reading and watching television
- Social media browsing
- Engaging in their passions
- Learning and mastering new skills
Problems with Millennials in the Workplace
As a business owner, there are many positive things that you stand to gain by hiring millennials. They are tech-savvy, passionate about learning, and very adaptive to change. On the other hand, there are also a few challenges that come with working with millennials.
Here are three unique problems with millennials in the workplace:
Millennials Tend to Be Impatient
Most millennials grew up in a world of instant gratification. They can communicate with someone living in another part of the world in a couple of seconds. They can listen to music or watch their favorite show with just a few clicks. Millennials can also get immediate validation about their talents or look from social media in a matter of minutes.
To sum it up, most millennials can get what they want without waiting. But while this may be a good way of living, it doesn’t translate well to building a career in the workplace.
Most millennials may want to become successful as fast as possible. They may get disappointed if the raise or promotion doesn’t come as quickly as they thought. Building a successful career takes time and patience – it can’t happen overnight.
Millennials Tend to Be Narcissistic and Self-interested
The topic of millennials being self-interested is a complex one. It attracts different views and opinions. Most experts, however, agree that millennials tend towards being self-involved (at least more than previous generations). They crave to make their identity known both online and offline. This could be due to their high social media activity. And while social networks allow us to socialize and connect with anybody, they’re also an avenue that everyone uses to show off their identity or lifestyle.
Some millennials use social media to seek external validation. They want to show off their best self, and in the process, they may disregard the emotions, feelings, and interests of others.
Millennials Get Bored Quickly
Millennials are a curious and adventurous generation. They don’t desire to be stuck in the office doing the same thing every day. Millennials can disengage quickly and easily, which may be why they tend to hop from one company to another.
According to a survey by Deloitte, the reasons below are the ones behind millennials getting bored in the workplace:
- No opportunities to learn something new
- Unchallenging tasks
- Not enough work
- Too many tasks
- Distractions from social media
How to Deal with Millennials in the Workplace
You now know the traits and characteristics of millennials in the workplace. Here are a few tips to help you manage them better:
- Build a positive work culture
Millennials aren’t driven solely by money. They want to make a difference in the world, and they desire a workplace with a vision or purpose. Your first action point should be to create a culture that allows millennials to contribute and feel part of the team.
Strive to build a culture of inclusivity, collaboration, and open communication. Doing so is the first step toward getting millennials to work with you because they will feel like they belong.
- Create growth opportunities
Millennials love to learn new things and gain new skills. Your goal should be to create a workplace that fosters personal growth and development. You can do this by offering free training and coaching programs to hone soft skills. You can also provide opportunities by paying for short courses or study programs.
- Provide mentorship and guidance
As mentioned above, millennials crave regular feedback. They desire recognition for their tasks and projects. A great way to recognize and appreciate their efforts is by providing mentorship and guidance. You can do this by matching millennials with a mentor from the time they begin working for you.
With a mentor, millennials will have somebody they can approach about challenges or any other work-related issues. The mentor can offer guidance on tasks and feedback on the work done.
Occasionally, you, the manager, should also review and appreciate the work millennials do in your company. You can show your gratitude by offering free lunch or dinner, giving thank you notes, or financial incentives. Appreciating and recognizing millennials will help motivate them to work and improve their loyalty to the company.
- Offer flexible work schedule
Another way to manage millennials is by offering them a flexible work schedule. Promote a workplace that enables them to have a better work-life balance. If the role doesn’t require your millennials to be at the office, let them work remotely. Instead of counting the number of hours spent performing tasks, work with deliverables and track deadlines.
Offering a flexible work schedule will allow millennials to enjoy their work and personal life. It will enable them to pursue their other passions, which will improve their satisfaction in the workplace.
Millennials are the new age group that’s taking over the workplace. They come with characteristics and traits that vary from previous generations. Their view of the workplace is also different. Millennials desire a collaborative workplace that fosters personal growth and offers flexible working hours. They crave to have a better work-life balance.
To manage millennials better, you may want to build a strong workplace culture and offer growth opportunities. Millennials aren’t motivated solely by high compensation. They desire to work in a company that wants to make a difference in the world. Try also to offer flexible work hours and provide mentorship and guidance regularly.
In this section, you’ll find a few resources to help you better understand millennials and keep you up to date with the latest news and available information.
Work Horror Stories
I think it’s interesting to see what’s going on in the workplace related to working with Millennials. One way to get an overview is to listen to other people’s stories. So, if you have a few minutes, check out the latest google search results for millennial horror stories at work.
Statistics are a great way to set a benchmark to compare your situation to the status quo. For the most recent statistics regarding working millennials, see the latest Google search results.
Books are a great way to become knowledgeable about a topic and allow you to get into a sub-topic.
You can also look at the table of contents to preview the book and the topics covered. For a list of books related to Millennials, see the latest Google search results.
Keeping up with the news allows you to see the latest stories related to millennials.
When you search for news online, you get the benefit of looking at archives. For the latest news related to millennials, see the latest search results from Google’s news site.
Videos are a great way to dive into a topic. Many videos cover tips and insights and allow you to gain a wider perspective on the subject.
For the latest videos related to millennials, see What YouTube has to offer.