Know Your Millennials

With nearly half of the existing millennials, born between 1977 and 1997, participating in the workforce today, it’s important to understand what professional needs and desires come along with this  group of your co-workers. There are approximately an equal number of boomers and millenials in the U.S and by 2020; five generations will be working together in organizations all over the world.
know-your-millennials_blog_staff-management-SMXGeneration Y brings a different perspective on employment and the best way to work with them is to understand the professional world through their eyes. The younger generation grew up in a highly technological era where instant gratification was the norm and group work was encouraged since grade school. reported that 75% of generation y employees would like mentors and 80% care about feedback. Quarterly feedback or annual feedback is not enough; millennials want to know how they are doing right now. They also want to hear your feedback face-to-face.  Perhaps because of the focus of group work in school and the rise of social media, this social interaction is highly valued in the work place.

Flexibility is coveted for the younger generation in nearly every aspect.  SHRM reports that 40% of millennials would accept a lower-paying job that had more flexibility, particularly in regards to work hours, place of work, social media access at work and the dress code. In fact, A Deloitte study notes that 46 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds would choose internet access over owning a car. Another factor that’s more important than pay is career progression and they don’t want to have to follow a stringent road map to get there. Many people in this generation suffered through a recession that made post-graduate employment difficult, so they value employment assistance in paying student loans as well. Not everybody is impressed by some of the work habits that are demonstrated by this group. reviewed research that indicated that with the younger generation, levels of professionalism have declined and work ethic has deteriorated over the past five years. 86.6 % of respondents believe that this is the cause of a casual attitude toward work, 71.5 % believe it’s due to not being self driven and 63% claim that there is lack of work ownership. A management consulting firm director reveals that the way professionalism is defined is different for different people; it is no longer synonymous of showing up and leaving for at a certain time or the clothes you where, it’s more the outcome than the process. The outcome many times tends to be innovation, one gen y trait that many boomers are appreciative of.

Each generation has traits that are a result of their upbringing and values. Some of these characteristics should be valued and carried through to new generations and some should change with the times. There is no right way to work and each generation should be aware of that.