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Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters



Employment Today Magazine

Making the most of your Millennial talent

Successfully negotiating the workforce age gap means ditching the myths about Millennials. Fia Collins looks at how to motivate and retain the youngest generation in our organisations.

Stereotypes about Millennials in the workforce abound—we’ve all heard they are entitled, lazy and care only about themselves. Or complaints that this generation is not prepared to pay its dues, or put in the long hours, and spends all it’s time on digital devices.

In fact, research shows the Millennial generation, broadly defined as those born between 1981 and 2000, are the recipients of more negative comments from their co-workers than any other generation in the workforce.

But with Millennials comprising 34 percent of the global workforce, a figure that’s expected to rise to 50 percent by the year 2020, organisations need to move past these myths and understand how this generation thinks, what they are motivated by and how to maximise the value they bring to our businesses.

After analysing the available research, and talking to Millennials working in New Zealand organisations, Diversity Works New Zealand has built up an understanding of some of the qualities and traits you can expect from this generation in the workplace.

HIGHLY EDUCATED AND AMBITIOUS

Statistics NZ data from the 2013 census showed 33 percent of Millennials aged 25 or over had a Bachelor’s degree or higher, making this the most qualified generation to date.

They worry about stagnating and need to know that they are developing new skills to enable them to advance in your organisation. But they are willing to work hard and contribute above their job description to make career progress.

Manage that by:

  • • 
    Recognising why tertiary-qualified Millennials tend to prefer strategic roles early in their careers. Curb your outrage at their youthful audacity and understand it’s less about climbing the ladder faster, and more about being in a role that matches or stretches their abilities.
  • • 
    Creating opportunities for mentoring and reverse mentoring—allow all generations to learn from each other in the workplace.
  • • 
    Letting your Millennial staff know how they are doing on a regular basis—build a rapport and agree how on how feedback will be given.

SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS

The Millennial generation is socially-conscious and politically-active—they are vocal and passionate about championing issues such as climate change and diversity.

The 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey found that 76 percent of millennials believe business is a force for positive social impact, and research shows that those given opportunities to contribute to causes through their workplaces showed a greater level of loyalty to their organisation.

Manage that by:

  • • 
    Being a good corporate citizen—have strong sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives, and make sure Millennials understand how their work is having a positive impact on your clients, your community and the world at large.
  • • 
    Providing opportunities for Millennials to donate money or time to causes they are passionate about

DEMAND FLEXIBILITY

With a strong belief that the goal is to get the job done and a dislike of putting in long hours for the sake of appearances, Millennials are not wedded to the traditional 40-hour week. They need variety and change within their role, and, like most employees, want time to have a life out of work to enjoy the activities they are passionate about.

Manage that by:

  • • 
    Being flexible in how, when and where employees can get their work done—flexible work hours or remote working should not be just for those with carer responsibilities or senior staff. Trust your Millennials to get the job done.
  • • 
    Offering job rotation opportunities wherever possible, giving staff the chance to try a new role or new tasks.
  • • 
    Building a strong relationship—this is paramount to getting the best out of all staff, but especially Millennials. Connection is key.

HIGH TECH

Millennials are digital natives—they have grown up with technology and it’s a big part of their friendships and daily activities. Their desire to do work that’s interesting and meaningful, and dislike of boring, repetitive tasks, means they will look for high-tech solutions to save time at work and reduce the drudgery.

Manage that by:

  • • 
    Embracing technology, and incorporating it into your business, via social media campaigns and marketing, for example.
  • • 
    Giving your Millennials creative latitude—invite their feedback, encourage them to build on their ideas and problem solve.
  • • 
    Considering gamified learning—tap into Millennials’ competitive spirit and make learning fun.
  • • 
    Minimising repetitive tasks and encouraging Millennials to improve processes so everyone’s work is more efficient. Be open to change. Don’t insist on doing things the way they have always been done—finding shortcuts is something Millennials think should be encouraged, not frowned upon.

FIA COLLINS is a diversity advisor at Diversity Works New Zealand and facilitates the organisation’s Maximising Millennial Talent workshop.

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