Over the last 10 years, millennials have been making their mark in the world with a set of very distinctive qualities and work ethics. Notorious for being polarizing, older generations either love or hate millennials, who have been branded with a contradicting mix of traits: they are hardworking yet noncommittal, open-minded yet entitled, easygoing yet self-centered.
Whether millennials inspire awe or ruffle feathers, every manager needs to know what they are like as employees especially because they will soon make up the majority of the labor force. By the year 2030, 75 percent of the workforce will be made up of millennials, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Here are some of the challenges you need to be aware of when managing a millennial workforce.
They Are the Least-Engaged Members of the Workforce
It’s one thing to successfully have a job applicant pass all the standard screening procedures like a drug test, cognitive exams, and physical evaluations, but keeping the millennial employee engaged at work is a completely different ballpark.
Employee engagement is key to business success. High engagement means employees feel a genuine connection to the company, so they are likely to work harder and become more proactive in achieving organization goals.
With this in mind, managers may need to double their efforts when dealing with employee engagement among millennial workers because, according to a Gallup study, millennials are the least-engaged generation of workers. The research found that a sizable 55 percent of millennials are not engaged in their jobs and 16 percent are actively disengaged. Disengaged employees are more likely to be unproductive and commit absenteeism.
They Prefer Flexible Work Schedules
While it was normal for previous generations to clock in to a nine-to-five job and report to their office on a daily basis, millennials prefer the opposite. According to a Gartner study that asked participants how they would prefer to schedule their work shift, a majority (53 percent) of millennials responded that they would spend the least amount of time in the office.
That could explain the growing popularity of the gig economy around the world in which individuals eschew formal employment in traditional organizations for more independent careers as freelancers and contractors. This trend can certainly be quite alarming for managers who are used to monitoring their workforce.
Growing up in the digital age has made millennials internet savvy and quite reliant on their personal mobile devices. This should give organization leaders important insight on how to deal with this challenge. For example, businesses can integrate efficient information systems into their operations, which will allow employees to work remotely.
They Want to Have a Meaningful Connection With Their Company
A sense of belongingness is a basic human need, and for millennials, this significantly shapes their work preferences as well. According to the 2018 Best Workplaces for Millennials report, millennials are 22 times more likely to stay in a company that has a high-trust culture, compared to gen Xers (16 times) and baby boomers (13 times).
Furthermore, businesses saw an eightfold increase in agility and sevenfold improvement in innovation when managers showed a genuine interest in millennials. Last but not the least, 44 percent of millennials say that they are more likely to feel engaged with their jobs if managers conduct regular meetings with them. So if you want to keep millennials motivated, productive, and committed to the organization, then you must prioritize building rapport and trust with them.
They Embrace Diversity in the Workplace
Millennials don’t just prefer flexibility in their work schedules; they also want it in the way managers handle workplace diversity. According to a Deloitte survey, 69 percent of millennials consider their companies motivating and stimulating when they see that the senior management team is diverse. This should be worth noting because the connection millennials have with you could affect how other millennials perceive your band.
A Gallup study says that 75 percent of millennials ask input from friends and family when making job-related decisions. That said, when your millennial employees are happy with their relationship with you, then they can become ambassadors of your brand and recommend it to other job-seeking friends or potential clients.
Like other generations before them, Millennials have their own positive and negative traits. As a manager, it is your duty to learn how you can turn their more challenging qualities into promising opportunities for growth and improvement.