You have probably heard this before. Millennials. Some people praise them for their ingenuity and tech-savviness, others curse them for being too high maintenance. The way millennials work and how they lead their lifestyle can fundamentally differ from their elders, and this can lead to problems with generations clashing with one another. But the fact is that millennials are here to stay, and here’s how you can better understand them.
Who are the millennials?
First, we need to understand who millennials are. They are, roughly said, the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s; this puts them right into the current workforce or soon entering it. Simon Sinek describes them as, apparently, entitled and narcissistic in a world where even participation is worth a reward, whereas MillennialMarketing reports that millennials quickly adopt new technologies, feel strongly about social causes and create and use content.
Most of the negativity millennials get comes from misunderstanding and a clash of generations. Previous generations don’t necessarily know how to work with millennials, and that can lead to unhappiness and outright arguments in the workplace. So, how to actually understand and work with millennials?
Follow their passions
Millennials are passionate people. They know what they want from life, what they want to achieve and what kind of impact they want to leave behind. If they don’t feel that they can follow their passions in all aspects of their life (work included), their performance might sink. According to a study by Department26, millennials value “being in a role you’re passionate about” more than salary (44% vs 42%). Align your company’s vision to the passion of the millennial and you’re going to see miracles.
Rewards & recognition
Yes, millennials have grown with instant recognition and gratification (some more than others), and this trait is conveyed into the professional life too. Instead of seeing it as a hindrance, is there a way to capitalize on it? Offering recognition and positive feedback periodically boosts a millennial’s satisfaction and performance.
9-5 or not?
Flexibility is also important for millennials. They yearn for freedom and see traditional 9-5 workdays as restrictive. Instead of strict working hours, millennials work better with deadlines and goals, and they also enjoy an occasional day working from home. Because in the end, does it really matter when or where the work is done as long as it gets done by the deadline?
As a conclusion, millennials might have a slightly negative reputation, but this boils down mainly to misunderstanding the differences between generations. Understanding the strengths, needs and work styles of the younger generations can improve your company’s performance and make it more attractive to millennials.
Learn more about how to get millennial power in your workplace here.2