Historically, insurrectionists have typically been greeted with hostility, and interestingly Millennials are often seen as insurrectionists in the workforce. However, a more appropriate description of Generation Y (Millennials) might be revolutionists. They certainly don’t have the intentions of tearing down greatness that has already been built; rather, they are progressive thinkers, looking to build on what they know works. Despite some negative associations with the generation, in our dynamic workshop titled The Decision-making process of the Millenial, we describe the ample value they offer and their impactful role in shaping the future. Organizations noting characteristics of the generation and taking time to understand how to “speak the Millinneal language” will no doubt be the leaders of successful business in the years to come. In fact, Aimee Groth of Business Insider describes Millennials as the most adaptive and creative generation in history.
For those organizations struggling to adapt to the culture and connect with Millenials, here are our MMM Pointers (Mentorship, Meaning and Money) for success.
What is important to Millennials?
In Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace, published by Kenan Flagler Business School, Jessica Brack makes a great observation that Generation X views Managers as industry experts, with unique information in their field. Because Generation Y has been raised with access to the internet, they have knowledge at their finger tips, and they feel they have access to the same information as Managers. For this reason, they view Managers as mentors and coaches rather than information gurus. Unfortunately, the generation is known for flighty behavior, but an employer, for example, investing in their future can rebuff that tendency. As opposed to popular belief, hiring an employee isn’t like hiring Rosie, the robot maid from the Jetsons cartoon. Millennials are not robots, but rather people who want to grow and advance. Offering skills training and interest in their advancement and growth, will keep them interested. Structure clear advancement opportunities tied in to the compensation plan and performance reviews, as a way of providing motivation, or they’re likely to leave you in the dust.
“In a study by Levit and Licina (2011, in Rikleen, n.d.,) when asked how important meaningful work was, 12 percent of managers said it was important versus 30 percent of Millennials. Fifty percent of managers in the study said that high pay was important, versus 28 percent of Millennials” (Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace). This isn’t shocking. Having been raised during hard times, Millennials tend to focus on the common good. A sense of accomplishment drives their motivations. Founder of Millennial Branding, Dan Schawbel words the situation well “Gen Y has a need to ‘solve the world’s problems’, and if companies want to keep talent in their organizations, they need to clearly communicate long-term company goals.” Retaining Millennials is about ensuring they feel valuable. Communicating how their work contributes to the big picture and giving them the credit they deserve is huge.
While Generation Y employees care less about earning a large paycheck than their Generation X counterparts, the Millennial generation is also saddled with on average $20,000 in college debt. So, money is on the radar for this generation, but in a different way than for previous generations. While competitive monetary compensation is a realistic aspect of landing top talent, they are not willing to sacrifice their life for it. They have their own business aspirations, be it entrepreneurship, internet marketing, or perfecting a hobby, they do want it all. Organizations offering education reimbursement programs, 401(k) eligibility and creative healthcare options tend to attract and retain the most qualified employees.
According to Business Insider, by 2025 Gen Y is going to make up 75% of the global workforce. After gaining insight on how to engage Millennials in the Workplace, every organization has the opportunity to not only welcome Gen Y with open arms, but work together for bottom-line success. Remember, it’s not about suppressing the insurrectionists; it’s about joining the revolution.