The success of any company lies in how well their team meshes and can adapt to the new landscape of a multigenerational workforce. In organizations today, employee demographics can span up to five generations.
Each generation harbors vastly different backgrounds, education, experience, values, and general outlooks on life and the world. While some see these differences as roadblocks, those companies who can harness that multigenerational power will be the ones that thrive.
Challenges of a Multigenerational Workforce
Managing the intricacies of a multigenerational workforce is something that has been a growing challenge. Common complaints from those who manage Millennials are about their desire for constant feedback, demanding nature, lack of respect for management paired with an overconfident know-it-all mentality, listening issues, the list goes on.
By 2025, 75% of the working population will be Millennials. Which means that while management may not agree with Millennial mindsets and tendencies, it’s a mindset that needs to be understood, considered, and incorporated when possible for more productive company outcomes in the future.
What is Important to Millennials at Work
Many of the challenges faced by managers today are rooted in generational differences. A Baby Boomer, the largest demographic in management today, is more likely to encourage keeping your head down and putting in your time to succeed. However, Millennials believe work should be fun and challenging, with feedback along the way that leads to growth.
The values are totally different.
Studies by Gallup and Harvard Business Review narrowed down what Millennials want at work, and honestly it’s rather inspirational:
- They want purpose and passion, not just a paycheck.
- They long for consistent conversations, not just annual feedback.
- They want collaboration, not competition.
- Saving the environment and solving societal issues is important to them.
- Their desire to become leaders and experts is at the forefront of their minds.
Don’t you think that these are values we can all afford to adopt, regardless of age or position?
How to Understand the Millennial Mentality
Part of growing as a company and embracing the Millennial mentality and their values is understanding where it comes from.
While they may sometimes come off as entitled or overconfident, often it’s a cover for insecurity. They’ve just transitioned from calling elders Mr., Ms., or Professor to knowing the president of their company on a first name basis. It’s intimidating! They’re used to being upfront, honest, blunt, and bold with their classmates. Their intergenerational communication skills haven’t necessarily been built yet.
Additionally, they’re growing up in a world where social media paints a pretty and unrealistic picture of life. Their friends are posting about landing their dream job and 20-year-old entrepreneurs are taking over the internet with wild success, which sets unrealistic expectations.
So, managing the expectations they’ve manifested from social media and accepting their inexperience is important in a multigenerational setting. It is something to understand isn’t their fault or a flaw – it’s how society has raised them.
How to Harness Values to Empower Your Young Professionals
At the end of the day, those Millennial-centric workplace grievances could be opportunities in disguise. It’s the manager’s job to harness the Millennial’s values and traits and manifest them into productive practices.
For example, rather than shrugging off a Millennial’s ideas, give them that immediate feedback they crave. Let them know why their idea will or won’t work for the company, giving info that will make them feel in the loop and valued. Or when they want to tackle a big project, rather than saying no, help them realize they may not have the skills yet, but review the steps you’ll take to help them learn the skills they need.
NimblyWise has been helping organizations create solutions to harness that young professional spark, ensuring young professionals and corporations can find that middle ground that helps fuel business success. Get in touch today to learn more!