Millennials, also know as Generation Y or Gen Y, are a group born between the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s. For those of us not in this group it is becoming increasingly important to understand that they are different and to start thinking about how this will impact on us, particularly in a workplace setting.
Let’s face it if you’re reading this, you’re probably not a millennial but for the rest of us here’s a few ideas to ponder.
Traits of millennials are often described as a sense of entitlement and narcissism however it’s a mistake to focus solely on the negatives, we must recognise the positives and adjust to the fact they are here and are going to have a major impact on our world.
Millennials are estimated to make up 55% of the world’s workforce by next year, some key ideas about them are:
They don’t stay in the same job as long – studies into New Zealand’s staff turnover rates are approximately 19% and studies suggest they are likely to increase
Worldwide migration is booming – New Zealand had a net migration in 2015/2016 of nearly 70,000 people. Millennials are far more likely to travel around the world than previous generations
Attention spans are dropping – studies show a reduction of 31% between 2000 and 2015. So, if you lose the engagement of a millennial they will simply ‘switch off’
Literacy is on the decline - 26% of 17-year old’s fail basic literacy assessments. Millennials generally don’t write they type; they are much less likely to ring someone than to message them. This is also demonstrated by an appreciation of ‘plain English’
Many organisations state that they consider their workers to be their greatest asset yet there is often little evidence of this, particularly for millennials.
Millennials have a keen sense of injustice and are more prepared to speak out if they have a feeling that something isn’t fair. They generally understand the system better, are more likely to complain and aren’t scared of directing these complaints to authorities. Also, if they believe their concerns aren’t being dealt with appropriately, they are likely to just go find another job.
We are witnessing a societal change from a focus on IQ (Intellectual Quotient) – I remember the importance of basing exams and a focus on following procedures and rules. To much more of a focus on EQ (Emotional Quotient), millennials are much more about the whether they feel their emotional needs are being met and the culture of the organisation.
This leads on to the new trend toward LQ (Love quotient) or MQ (Moral quotient), these ideas are around caring about others, caring about your community and caring about the environment. Today, many charities are struggling, membership of service organisations is dropping and the gulf between the haves and have nots seems to be widening. Despite this, there is a growing trend towards companies needing to support workers and the community in a much broader way.
While giving answers for business is difficult and complex there some worthwhile things you should be thinking about:
Assess how the traits of the millennials will impact on you and your business
Regularly check in with millennials to see how they are going
Consider the best way to provide information and training – look to use technology
Look to accommodate workers who have different cultural and language needs
Give them clear expectations and a pathway for their future
Have clear policies and procedures around dealing with worker concerns
Use plain language
Try to give workers as much say and flexibility about how they do their work as is possible
There are many options, but a good first step is to recognise the issue and start thinking about it. Avid Plus are helping business move towards simulated training modules (SIMs) as a means of better using technology in a way suited to millennials, if you’re interested have a look at: https://avidplus.co.nz/Sims.php.