Meet the Millennials
May 27, 2015 by Lynn Faughey
It’s that time of year – my kids have both finished another year of college and I’m amazed again at how fast another year has gone. It’s hard to believe that in just two more years, they will both be finished with college and starting their careers. It’s gotten me to thinking how different things are today then they were back when Rose and I were just starting out in our careers. Back then I don’t think I could have fathomed where technology was going to take us. I laugh when I think of the old bag phone that plugged into the cigarette lighter of the car or the Commodore 64 computer that was so cutting edge. Anyone remember playing Space Invaders or Missile Command on their Atari? The idea of a tablet that wasn’t yellow paper with lines on it was absurd! Things have sure changed and young adults today, known as Millennials, are coming into the work force with very different expectations than the Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers that came before them.
The Pew Research Center analysis of U.S Census Bureau data states that more than 1-in-3 American workers are Millennials (aged 18-34) and they’ve surpassed Generation X to become the largest workforce segment. Having two kids and a recent FlexPro hire that are part of this Millennial generation prompted me to do a little more research on what exactly makes this group tick. I found an interesting article written by Dan Schwabel, contributor to Forbes, that really gave me some perspective on how this group is going to change the corporate culture in the future. According to Schwabel, “Millennials are going to make major shifts in corporations over the next decade and most people aren’t ready for the amount of change that’s coming.” His article, titled “10 Ways Millennials Are Creating the Future of Work”, discusses the ways that this group will slowly bring about a shift in the expectations of the workforce.
A few of the traits that Schwabel has found among this group include a preference for working on projects in teams and the feeling that the current collaboration processes hinder productivity. They are savvy in the use of social media and prefer to use it to share ideas. They are concerned about social responsibility and care more about what they’re working on than who they’re working for. They want to create an open culture with fewer barriers between management levels. They value results, experience and work ethic over a degree and as managers will likely focus more on achievement than education when recruiting. Having been raised in an era where information and communication is instantaneous, they work fast and prefer continual and ongoing feedback over annual performance reviews. They value flexibility and want to utilize technology to its fullest to work from home or other offsite locations.
In the next ten years Millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce and it’s clear to me that as they move up the corporate food chain they will be bringing their ideas and ways of doing business with them. We have all seen what happens to companies that have chosen not to change with the times, who’s leaders perhaps didn’t see the bigger picture. What happened to companies that didn’t invest in continually advancing their technology and those that believed social media was just a passing faze? Kodak, Blockbuster, Palm and Borders – to name a few – all failed to bring critical new communications technologies into their organizations and all fail to exist today.
So heads-up, changes are coming and the Millennials are a force to be reckoned with! They are a smart, energetic group with an exciting business future ahead of them. I’m looking forward to working with and learning from their different styles and attitudes. They are the future of our corporate culture and we need to embrace what they have to offer and welcome them with open arms!
I’d love to hear your experiences with the Millennials and welcome any advice you have!