Embracing Millennials in the Workplace
The actual definition of a Millennial will vary depending on the source, but generally they are people born roughly between 1981 and 1997. Also known as generation Y, they can often have a bad reputation, but these are misconceptions. From a positive perspective, Millennials can bring a unique and fresh viewpoint to the workplace.
Millennials were the first generation to grow up using technology, so they’re used to a world of change and development. The transformations they’ve grown up watching are very different to what previous generations have seen when growing up, so it’s shaped their minds differently.
The Common Millennial Stereotypes
- They’re job-hoppers: it’s said that Millennials aren’t scared to change jobs, at least in comparison to previous generations. It’s estimated that almost half of the workforce is either actively looking for a new job or are keeping an eye out for new openings.
- They prioritise work-life balance: while competitive pay is always important, Millennial's are much more likely to value flexibility, such as the opportunity for remote working or flexitime. Many hold the opinion that the working day doesn’t have to start at 9, and it doesn’t have to finish at 5.
- More and less formal communication: depending largely on networking and communication at work, they’ll likely gain the most out of regular one-to-one conversations and group discussions, rather than saving the catch-up for those monthly meetings.
- They’re career savvy: Millennials are much more likely to think beyond getting a job and will be more likely to choose a role that has good progression opportunities, rather than one which is immediately great but has little room for growth.
- They need meaningful work: to be truly engaged, they need to work on fun projects and not be overlooked for potential opportunities based on their age or experience. Sure, they might need more training than other candidates but they’re very eager to learn and progress.
- They prioritise cultural fit: the biggest pull for many young workers is whether the companies they’re applying for has a culture that aligns with their own values.
Millennials and Technology
Millennials have the unique ability for using technology to make their work more efficient, and they’re driving the new workplace trends by doing so.
Being the first to have access to digital technology for their whole lives, Millennial's are said to be more capable of picking up new technology and mastering it – more so than many of their predecessors anyway. While they receive a bad rep for being so dependent on technology, the truth is that it’s not just this generation that are dependent, but majority of the world – millennials are simply more open to utilising technology to make everything simpler and more efficient.
On average, 75% of Millennials believe that access to technology makes them more effective at work. They’re more likely to grasp new business tools much quicker than older generations, which can provide a real advantage in a fast-paced environment, especially as technology becomes ever changing.
Technology effects what they look for in their jobs, not just how they look. Even down to issues such as social media, as an average of 56% of Millennials wouldn’t accept a job offer from a company that bans social media. Developing a commitment to technology as an organisation will not only help you attract and retain the emerging workforce – it will allow you to remain competitive and streamline your various organisational processes.
Organisations that use the most current (or efficient) technology trends in their recruitment process will be able to portray their ability to keep up to data with these trends right from the first point of contact.
Many articles you might read about Millennials will probably say they have short attention spans. This couldn’t be further from the truth – they just won’t put a lot of time into something that is providing little value or something that isn’t truly capturing their interests. They’re more likely to accept the first offer that they receive due to timing, or they’re more likely to accept an offer from an organisation who’s been in consistent, regular contact with them throughout the process.
These issues are easy to combat. Millennials are said to favour social networking or text messages as an instant, quick form of communication. More formal modes of communication such as phone calls or face-to-face interactions are still highly valuable, so try and find a balance that will incorporate more than one method.
Millennials are also keen to know why they should take a job – such as how it will help them achieve their goals and what the benefits are beyond the pay grade. Use this as a basis of communication between the organisation and the candidate, such as using company culture videos or inviting candidates in to interact with your workforce, so they can see it first-hand.
Using recruitment technology can help to keep up engagement with your candidates, even down to simple factors such as automated emails and text messages. Inviting your candidates to do video interviews through the Shine platform can do this for you, while reducing your time-to-hire and streamlining your recruitment process. It’s also accessible to candidates from mobile, which is an important factor to consider to further optimise your process.
Despite the changing workforce, Millennials should not be seen as a group of people who just have different needs to everyone else. They’re the ones driving overall workforce changes – you should be considering overall organisational change, not just changing a couple of aspects to suit the needs of a few young employees. After all, Millennials and Gen Z (those younger than Millennials) are forecast to make up 75% of our workforce by 2025, so it’s time to start evolving in order to maximise the benefits from these generations.