This is the first of a two-part series on working with millennials. This first part introduces three qualities of millennials in the workplace. Part two will examine how to deal with these qualities and use them to contribute to the success of your company.
As Principal of GlassRatner in our restructuring and bankruptcy practice, I know that to be successful, a “turnaround” must include many facets. These include financial re-engineering, legal and contractual issues, vendor and customer relations and extensive operational adjustments.
A critical part of the operational piece is not how the “widget” is made or distributed, but whether you have a motivated, dedicated workforce to accomplish the corporate goals. Most company’s workforce is multi-generational and the millennial component is becoming more and more important to one’s success.
Millennials have officially taken over as the group with the largest demographic in our country. Numbering 75.4 million, they recently overtook baby boomers, according to a recent survey released by Pew Research Center. Last year, this generation also took over the majority of the U.S. workforce.
So odds are great that you work in an office with millennials. And if you don’t you still come in contact with them every day in the business world. This generation has some qualities that are different than previous generations — in their work habits, outlook on life and even what motivates them.
So Baby Boomers and Gen X can all lament about it, joke about it and get frustrated about it. Or they can try to understand the qualities millennials bring to our businesses and use them to our advantage.
Megan Abbott is a millennial life coach — yes, there is such a thing — and founder of Fruition Personal Coaching. In an article in Forbes, “Study: Millennials’ Work Ethic Is In The Eye Of The Beholder,” she said, “Older employers can disapprove and judge millennial values as inferior to their own … or they can accept and strive to understand what drives this new generation.”
As a first step to understanding, here are three qualities that have been identified as defining the millennial generation.
- They are tech savvy.
Millennials are the most connected generation in history, and have been referred to as digital natives. They grew up with technology at their fingertips and never took a photo on film, listened to something on a tape and have probably never sullied their fingertips with ink rubbed off a newspaper.
People in older generations are what is referred to as digital immigrants. Generally, they have had to migrate over to each massive shift in technology, adapting to a new way of doing things.
- They are not as motivated by money.
You’ve got some employees doing a great job and seemingly happy doing so. Then one day they just quit, possibly with no other job or one at a lot lower salary. It’s happened in companies that I’ve re-engineered and has probably happened to you. What’s that about?
While millennials are definitely motivated, it isn’t always about making money.
They want a good quality of life and want to change the world for the better. While baby boomers seek money, an impressive title and recognition, millennials want to know how their work fits into the bigger picture.
- They are used to working in teams and are creative in finding solutions.
Education styles change. While many previous generations primarily learned on their own, millennials were educated in a more collaborative method. They are more comfortable working in teams and also place a high value finding creative solutions to problems.
Do these qualities sound familiar? In the next blog, I’ll discuss how to leverage these qualities to contribute to the success of your company.