Millennials in the workplace

If you're anything like me, you might be a bit over hearing about Millennials. They're people born approximately between 1982 and 2004 (depending on what you read, this range can vary, starting as early as 1977). Also known as the Net Generation, researchers have them pegged as selfie-absorbed, device junkies with little affiliation to political or religious groups. But are they really?

A new perspective

I recently spent a sweaty summer morning in a hall full of Millennials. I was there as a mentor for the Young Enterprise Scheme - working with year 12 and 13 high school enterprise students. During a speed-mentoring process, I was introduced to a number of spotty, nervous young people. Each person explained their business ideas and asked salient questions about markets and product benefits. By the end of the session I was completely overwhelmed with the creative thinking, energy and attitude of the students (and educators and organisers). It turns out that Millennials have a lot going for them.

But they are different to previous generations, not surprisingly (aren't we different to our parent's generation?).

If employers want to keep a stable workforce, they need to know how to manage this new generation.

Here are our tips for managing Millennials in the workplace:

1. Provide structure - regular tasks, deadlines, agendas. They don't like to be boxed in but they do like boundaries

2. Conversely they want flexibility at work to enable them to fit in family, friends and lifestyle activities, so consider flexi-hours, hot desks, and working from outside the office

3. Provide leadership and guidance - they want to learn from you and see the bigger picture so you will need to invest in training and coaching to foster growth

4. They have a 'can do' attitude so capitalise on this through encouragement and platforms to express their ideas, opinions and creativity

5. Millennials are great team players and teams are typically more effective. It's a win-win

6. As the most child-centric generation in history, they expect to be listened too. Taking the time to listen will improve communications, open the door to new ideas and enhance the overall culture

7. As an interrupted generation, multi-tasking has become a way of life for Millennials. Load them up on multiple projects - they thrive

8. It is not enough for a Millennial to have a local network of friends - they are likely to be connected to social media platforms you have never even heard of. This gives them the ability to always weigh up their options, under the radar. This increases the need to create a Millennial-friendly workplace

It's food for thought!

I leave you with this quote from someone who had misgivings about the current generation:

"The children now love luxury, they have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs and tyrannize over their teachers."
Socrates, Greek Philosopher, born circa 470 BC