The Millennial generation have often been viewed as unambitious and constantly shying away from climbing the corporate ladder. However, this view stems from traditional business leaders who fail to see things from the millennial point of view. We can no longer single-mindedly focus on what has traditionally worked, especially now when millennials bring a full set of new skills and can be a resource for creativity and development. This is especially so as a new generation of consumers is also on the rise; consumers who share the same world-view as millennial workers.
The Millennial generation (otherwise known as Gen Y), have been in the workforce for about two decades, but businesses are just beginning to realise their need to adapt their approach to working with this new generation, now that they are becoming the majority of the workforce. Money, while still being a high priority, is no longer the only motivating factor for the new workforce. Gen Y-ers will also put considerable thought into what a company’s values are before deciding to work there, even if it means a pay-cut.
So, what does this mean for the business? This generation wants to know they’re contributing directly to the big picture through meaningful work that ties into a higher purpose. As this generation continues to grow, organisations will be forced to change their entire work culture. This may seem extreme, but the fact is that the new generation of customers are also Gen Y-ers. In order to stay relevant to attract and retain the best talent, an organisation’s work culture needs to follow the shifts in society.
Currently, one of the foremost traits that younger workers are expecting from companies is authenticity and honesty. For example, research from Deloitte shows that over 20 percent of millennials have strengthened a relationship with a brand because they approve of its societal or environmental initiatives.
This has created massive waves in company recruitment as businesses scramble to espouse and strengthen their authentic voice. As the first digital-native generation, the skills this generation brings to the table, from social networking to their in-depth understanding of technology, could benefit every department. But nowadays, many organisations are struggling to find the right balance to get them involved.
For this current generation to thrive in the workforce, companies need a new set of incentives and rewards. Recognition, opportunities, and career mobility are major motivating factors for Gen Y and will have a direct connection to the high turnover rate in several industries.
Communication is another huge area that companies need to work on. Management needs to be more flexible, open, and encouraging. Especially so for larger companies who must ensure that all departments and teams are on the same page.
Motivating employees is not a new concept in business, but measuring and maintaining employee happiness is. As a result, the associated technology for enterprises to capture this data and be able to leverage it has only recently started to make progress.
Businesses need to leverage new technologies such as enterprise resource planning and human capital management in order to allow business leaders to better serve their younger employees. Merging these technologies allows organisations to access the data relating to worker satisfaction and engagement, which have traditionally been siloed in multiple systems. This in turn will help them to better understand what Gen Y workers expect, and thus make it easier to meet those expectations.
For companies struggling to innovate their workplace culture, the best place to start is by restructuring current internal communications and knowledge-sharing processes. With the increasingly competitive ecosystem for skilled workers, this would be a good start as understanding every generation and the things and motivate them will be vital to the future success of a business.