We are currently dealing with the diversity of multiple generations in the workplace. This is the first time in history that there are up to four generations in one workforce, including Millennials.
The Millennials (or Generation Y) are the “young ones.” They are those born after 1980. For Baby Boomers, that may mean that we are now managing “our kids” so to speak! Or maybe these “kids” are our peers, or our managers. Can you say “sticky situation?”
When we look at what characterizes The Millennials, keep in mind that these are generalizations. Some employees will fit the description perfectly; some will match part of it. These broad, general points can hopefully help us embrace the differences and benefit from all the generations in our workplace.
Who are the Millennials?
- They look for meaning in their jobs.
- They like change and hate boredom.
- They want to be heard.
- They are multi-taskers.
- They want to enjoy their work.
- They are tech-savvy.
- They look for a healthy work/life fit.
- They are our most educated generation of employees.
How can we, as employers, use their energy and talents to our advantage and to their benefit?
- Listen to them. Let their suggestions be heard at staff gatherings, wellness initiatives, friendly in-house competitions, etc.
- Take advantage of their technology skills and comfort level with social media. This group of “digital natives” brings an unprecedented level of knowledge in this area.
- Create an interactive environment with opportunities for communication and collaboration.
- Provide them with some scheduling flexibility, if possible, or let them “work remotely” at times, in order to accommodate their work/family balance.
- Communicate to them how their work relates to the company’s purpose.
- Provide lots of feedback.
- Ensure mentoring between generations. It is crucial for the Millennials to be learning from the Baby Boomers and vice versa.
As American Management Associates (2014) states: “With the variety of multigenerational employees in today’s workplace, companies can no longer abide by traditional rules of leadership and management. Organizations can achieve real strategic advantage by embracing the diversity among generations to create a flexible work environment that values all people and keeps them productive, regardless of age.”If you are looking for help in managing the generational diversity in your workplace, or any other workplace issues – we can help! That is what we do. We help managers manage their people and people manage their lives. Read more about our Organizational and Development Services here.