Thursday, July 9, 2015

Millennials in the Workplace

It’s anticipated that, within the next ten years, four generations will be in the workplace at the same time. Millennials, or those born between 1980 and 2001, will occupy forty-six percent of the workforce by 2020. With this new generation comes a new perspective.   Millennials’ predecessors, Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1964) and Generation X (born between 1964 and 1980), value working independently with a more “inward looking perspective.”  In comparison, the tech-savvy and diverse Millennials are collaborators.  A report from UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School described the Millennials as “continuous learners, team players, collaborators, diverse, optimistic, achievement-oriented, socially conscious and highly educated.”  That report can be found here.

Baby Boomers and Generation X are most concerned with job security and structure, while Millennials are most concerned with self-fulfillment and purpose.  The UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School also reported that the “top three career priorities for Millennials were compensation (most Millennials graduate from college with an average of $20,000 in debt), flexible work schedules and the opportunity to make a difference.”  A recent study by Deloitte, which surveyed 7,800 Millennials from 29 different countries, shows that seventy-five percent of Millennials believe businesses focus too much on their own agenda and not enough on people and the betterment of society.  The study also revealed that only twenty-eight percent of Millennials “feel that their current organizations are making ‘full use’ of the skills they currently have to offer.”  

However, there are some similarities between the generations as well.  Ben Rosen, Ph.D., Professor of Organizational Behavior for the Kenan Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, reported that all three generations expected the following from their employers:

  1. To work on challenging projects;
  2. Competitive compensation; 
  3. Opportunities for advancement, and chances to learn and grow in their jobs. 
  4. To be fairly treated; and 
  5. Work-life balance.  

That report can be found here.

Employers should take note that when it comes to salary and earning potential, Millennials don’t want to hear that salary is capped, instead they want to hear that it is dependent on performance.  The UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School report also suggested that employers do the following:

  • Develop an organizational culture that encourages employee decision making. 
  • Offer employees learning and development opportunities that will allow them to succeed in their jobs.
  • Implement coaching and mentoring programs.