Millennials are Changing the Workforce

12155264433_5dde9733a4_bAccording to the Pew Research Center, “More than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials.” Since the majority of the workforce consists of millennials, it is important to understand the many routes company’s are taking in order to adapt their organizational culture to the changing workforce.
Millennials are pushing for many changes to be made that better accommodate their working habits to allow them to be more efficient and thrive in their careers. Managers are working to implement changes in order to attract millennial workers to their company and keeping their current millennial workers from leaving them for a company that they believe better meets their needs. I’m going to dive into a few of the way that both managers and millennial employees can work to create a cohesive work environment.

It’s more than a job, it’s my identity

Millennials are a generation that is changing the ways of the workforce. Helen Zhao wrote in a Huffington Post article that “…millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the U.S. work force last year, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data.” This means that they have an enormous amount of leverage and opportunities to change the way things run. Millennials are known as an un-loyal  generation who are not likely to stay at a company for more than a few years. This is because this generation is more focused on pursuing a career where they feel they are making a difference because they identify very strongly with what they do for work. In past generations, it was easier to separate your sense of identity, and who you are as a person from what you did at work. In the Huffington Post article written by Zhao, an organizational development expert named Jessica Geist says “The work force that used to be based on machines is now based on human minds, human creativity, human capability,” which is why today’s workers are much more attached to what they’re contributing to the world.

This clear connection between millennials and their field, it’s no wonder why they are so quick to leave a company if they feel they are no longer gaining or contributing value in the company. The most important thing is to improve the knowledge and capabilities you can bring to the table, and becoming a more efficient worker. The need to work for a company, or a cause that they care about is what drives their decisions in their next big career move.

When given the opportunity to learn from a good coach, millennials will be loyal to that boss. Their loyalty does not lie with a specific company, they do not have a problem with switching company’s every few years, and they will. However, if they are working for a good boss who teaches and inspires them they are more likely to stay at a single job. The same goes for the cause they are supporting.

Communication is key

When a business is built with a hierarchy of positions in place, most of the information is delivered to employees on a need to know basis. This however is rapidly changing where millennials have a say. The transparency of a company is very important to the millennial generation. It allows for collaboration across the company, and it brings a sense of community to the workplace. According to Bonnie Monych at Insperity, “The millennial model has no hidden agendas or secrets, and encourages open access to meetings and information.” This is more possible today than in previous generations simply because of technology. It is so simple now to add the entire company to an email list with updates, and keep everything organized in a collaborative single place that everyone can access.

With this communication and transparency across the company, there is much more opportunity for leadership, and remember, you do not have to be a manager to be a leader. Any employee can take the initiative in getting a project started and off the ground, or work to motivate and inspire their colleagues. The organizational structure is evolving from a chain of command to be more flat with less higher-ups, and more team-orientated work. This warrants communication across all departments and levels of the business. When all employees at a company have access to the same resources and information, the possibilities for new innovations are endless. Problems may be solved at faster rates with the collaborative efforts of the entire company.

Put me in Coach

If managers want to better manage their millennial employees they need to stop “managing” and start “coaching.” In a Harvard Business Review article by Karrie Millyerd, she wrote, “Our subsequent conversations with hundreds of Millennials made it clear that what they want most from their managers isn’t more managerial direction, per se, but more help with their own personal development.” This goes back to the way millennials view a job as more than a position at a company, but as a crucial part of who they are. With the right coaching and inspirations there is no telling what this generation will do in order to make positive contributions to society.

Millennials want feedback so they can grow to work more efficiently and effectively. Matthew Arrington states in an article on business.com that “Because Millennials love causes bigger than themselves, companies should track their employees’ sources of inspiration through surveys charting their goals, interests, and feelings.” Implementing professional development programs within the company will attract more millennial workers and motivate them to stay at a company longer.  Offering opportunities to further their education is another thing millennials look for in a company. Improving upon existing skills, as well as gaining more relevant skills will absolutely grant success in inspiring employees. Millennials already have a desire to learn, so providing the proper resources to allow them to develop their abilities is a great way to attract millennial employees to a company.

Adapting to change isn’t always easy. But with the right mindset, hard work, and dedication the whole process will go much smoother. Once the next generation or two start joining the workforce, I’m sure we’ll see a whole new set of workers trying to change the model that was put in place by the millennial generation.

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