What is the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about Generation Y, the Millennials? Portrayed as a lazy generation and majorly possessive of a sense of entitlement, there is usually a negative association made when referring to them. Nonetheless, they represent a demographic cohort of all individuals born from 1980 – 1995 and are made up of 13.8 million people that are contributing to the productivity of this country. They have been bound together in a bid to represent a generation that has grown during a time of shift into the Digital Age.
Other generations include:
- The Silent Generation: 1928 – 1945
- The Baby Boomers: 1946 – 1964
- Generation X: 1965 – 1980
- Generation Y (Millennials): 1981 – 1995
- Generation Z (iGen): 1996 – 2012
Whilst it is the first time in history that we have seen five generations working together, we are however experiencing a massive reduction in two of these within the workplace; the Silent Generation are gradually leaving us and Baby Boomers are already in or working towards retirement. Thus it is vital that we explore how Millennials are changing the workplace and combat this negative perception that is being imposed on them as by 2050 they will represent half the UK’s workforce. So let’s explore how Millennials are transforming the workplace.
Demand Work-Life Balance
Millennials are simply achieving what prior generations couldn’t in the workplace. Generation X had a desire for a work-life balance, Millennials frankly just demands it. With so much happening outside of work, this requirement tends to find itself at the top of many graduate’s requirement list. This push for stability between work and life can also mean developing an integration between the two by building a lifestyle and career that one would be happy to maintain for the rest of their life rather than being driven by the prospects of working hard for 40 years to retire one day.
New Era for Technological Advancement
With a new iPhone coming out every year, technology advancement doesn’t scare off this generation, they embrace it. As such, Millennials are known as the ‘Digital Natives’ of the world; history’s first ‘always connected’ generation. In the age of A.I (Artificial Intelligence), social media and virtual reality – companies must embrace the technological savviness of Millennials as new innovations can only come to fruition by pushing for employee engagement and enabling an environment that influences it.
Often mistaken for laziness, they tend to use technology to ease a process; this kind of behaviour has influenced workflow automation systems that have massively improved the efficiency of this country productivity. This generation already possesses the necessary computing skills for this as they have implemented this into their daily lives.
Push for More Open Communication & Feedback
Often perceived as headstrong and having firm goals in regards to future aspirations, Millennials need help to harness their ambition, polish those ideas and focus on further developing their strengths. They want open and honest communication among all employees and also expect the same from their employer. Organisations need to incorporate a transparent communication policy as this will enable and influence employees at all levels to not only seek honest feedback but also encourage give it out.
Tolerance to Diversity
With fast developments in technology, logistics, and communications the pace of globalisation has rapidly advanced over the past 30 years, the internet has enabled fast and constant communication which consequently has quickened globalisation. Millennials have been exposed to far more cultures, people, travel opportunities and information than any previous generations; this has not only made them the most tolerant of diversity but also the most likely to seek it – specifically in the workplace to enhance opportunities.
Unafraid of Change
Long gone the days of uncertainties, employees have never been so confident in their ability to find work – whether by choice or as a result of being laid off. With the scale of networking, peer-to-peer comparison and online job search possibilities that are easily accessible; the road to career progression and further opportunities does not hold back Millennials from changing jobs. In the UK, Millennials statically stay in a job for a maximum of 3 years; unappealing benefit packages, the lack of career advancement and not consistently receiving feedback and are all factors that have contributed to this phenomenon and we should welcome such a push for change that will more than likely lead to employees being happier and a lower employee turnover for organisations.