In 2016, millennials composed a third of the workforce in the US, making it the largest generation in the labor force today. With ages ranging from 21 to 36 in 2017, millennials are starting to take on leadership roles, as well.
So much has been said about this generation, especially by the ones that came before it, in terms of work ethics, values, and belief system. Millennials grew up at a time of 24-hour news, exposing them to events from all over the world, and as they entered the new millennium, they witnessed the 9/11 tragedy; and then later on, were taken to the information age and technological revolutions. All these contribute to this generation’s different worldview and multifaceted set of beliefs.
Indeed, it can pose a great a challenge for organizations, which are still predominantly led by baby boomers, to manage such a complex group of individuals. In dealing with millennial workers, one must understand this generation and how they are different or even similar to the others.
Millennials appreciate regular feedback, and this comes from their need for constant growth and learning. They feel more valued when they get feedback from their superior – whether positive or negative. Since they grew up with high expectations from older generations, millennials also want praise and encouragement for them to have a sense of progress and importance; but above all, millennials prefer managers who are transparent and dependable and whose practices are fair and ethical.
Working with Teams
While millennials have a good sense of their individuality, they work well in groups. Evidence has shown that millennials believe that business decisions are better made when there is a variety of input provided by individuals. However, the study also showed that this belief is not at all unique in millennials as Gen X employees equally believe the same.
Millennials value work-life balance for they know that it is beneficial to their mental health. Across all generations, mental health must be top priority in the workplace. A surveysuggests that millennials felt more stressed and under pressure than their baby boomer counterparts, and this is due to factors such as low pay rates and high entry-level workloads.
Being Challenged and Embracing Change
Being the most educated generation to date, millennials are always up for challenges and are ready to take on changes within the organization, provided that they are shown transparency and inclusion in the decision-making.
Integrity and Ethics of the Business
A survey conducted on millennials showed that they put much value on how businesses put their employees first, as well as their solid foundation of trust and integrity. Employee satisfaction and fair treatment ranked number one among values that millennials look for in a business, while ethics, trust, integrity, and honesty came in close second. The Department of Labor implements more than 180 labor laws, covering various workplace activities for millions of employers and workers. These labor laws cover employees’ wages and hours, compensation and benefits, workplace safety, among others. Millennials are particular with the ethical and legal practices of organizations they associate with, so they put prime consideration on this aspect.
In valuing an organization, millennials look for authenticity and meaning. They go for companies that hold the same values as they do, and rally around the causes they feel strongly for. A study found that millennials look for reputation-related attributes in businesses when looking for jobs. These attributes include caring about employees, environmental sustainability, community relations, and ethical products and services.
As millennials continue to saturate the workforce, as well as the consumer market, businesses must be more adept in the millennial belief system and workplace behavior. Any organization can benefit from knowing their employees well and creating an environment that best suits their employees’ strengths and potentials. Good employees make good leaders, and millennials will soon take the majority of the business leadership seats. It is then optimal to master the art of dealing with the millennial worker.
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