To the Baby Boomers displeasure, Generation Y, commonly known as the Millennials, is taking the business world by storm. They come off as cocky and high maintenance, but rightfully so; they are smart, tech-savvy and highly educated. Their career decisions are based on one basic question: What’s in it for me? The Millenials are fast approaching the front line of our workforce and it’s time to face the fact: they’re different! In fact they’re polar opposites of Baby Boomers. So, for the next few minutes, I suggest you temporarily turn off your “equal treatment” radar and accept that generational differences in the Workforce must be treated differently.
Gross hours worked vs. Net worth achieved
It’s not about the number of hours worked anymore. It’s not about putting in the extra time in order to climb the hierarchical ladder. It’s about the value of the effort put in, regardless of how much time it took to achieve. If a Millenial can do in one hour what a Baby Boomer can do in three, then that is something to be valued. Millenials value time; they’ll argue that the actual time taken to a complete a project is irrelevant if the outcome achieved falls within the given parameters. This isn’t to say that Millenials are slackers and want to work a little number of hours. In fact, they’re likely to work longer hours – as long as their work is mentally challenging. They look for flexibility, what some people call portable careers. They’re not fond of the 9 to 5 routine. They may start work at 10am, finish at 3pm and resume again at 8:30pm until the wee hours of the morning. They want to work when they feel their minds would be most productive – not a bad outcome for the business.
Loyalty vs. Merit Selection
The Baby Boomer generation defined loyalty in itself, as a merit. The longer an employee stayed with a company, the more likely they were of getting promoted. Consequently, the business world is left with supervisors who can’t manage people and passionless directors who just coasted for a few decades. Millenials want their careers to grow at the same speed as their knowledge. They need to be challenged and will not remain in stagnate roles. They may seem like they bounce around from job to job for the purposes of salary increases (which plays a factor of course), but their true ambition is to find a role which satisfies their need for an intellectual challenge. When it comes to compensation, they don’t believe in standardization. They want raises and bonuses equivalent to their efforts and contributions, not to their seniority. Seniority as a concept is almost non-existent in the Millenials contemporary work setting. Above all, remember this: there CAN be employee retention within the Millenials generation, just keep up with the speed at which they learn and grow!
Learn and stay vs. Learn and grow
Whereas continuing education use to be an employee benefit, it has become clear that the tables have turned. Education reimbursement is no longer something that is negotiated in contracts. To the Millenials pleasure, employers have finally found the benefit to increasing their employees’ knowledge, decreasing turnover and promoting self-growth. Whereas Baby Boomers learn and stay, Millenials learn and grow! They keep up with the trends and keep themselves informed in order to stay on top of the game. Millenials look for personal and professional mentorship, formal or non-formal. This greatly differs from the world of Baby Boomers, who were taught to fend for themselves, as they all competed for the same role within the steep hierarchical ladder. For Millenials, change is a given and continuous learning is a way of life.
Live to work vs. Work to live
It may sound terrible but work has fallen way behind in the priorities list; after family, friends, community, fun, and continuous learning, as mentioned above. Millenials want to feel fulfilled in every aspect of their world. They were raised within a revolutionary realm where the internet made everything possible. They were taught that they could do anything they put their minds to. They value relationships, keeping their earth clean and self-growth (spiritual, mental and intellectual). Though a work crisis may not come ahead of their child’s first soccer game, they will dedicate their full attention when it is the appropriate time to do so.
Institutionalization vs. “Casualization”
By now, it won’t come to you as a shock when I say: Millenials want to be noticed! Millenials are less and less interested in working for large corporations where they are known as six digit employee numbers and are very limited with the contributions they can make. Whereas Baby Boomers viewed large corporations as a stable environment, Millenials are willing to take the risk in order make their work count. They want to see their efforts aligned with the business’ culture and want to know that their contributions had much to do with the company’s success.
So, why should we cater to the Millenials? Simple: with Baby Boomers and Generation X slowly starting to fill up our retirement homes, Millenials will be the ones left in charge of growing our economy. But with their knowledge, impeccable values and will to succeed and over-achieve, there couldn’t be a better generation to be trusted with this challenge. Want to hire and retain the best talent? Make sure you have an attractive answer to their question: What’s in it for me?