The Workforce is Changing Before Our Very Eyes—How Do We Adapt? Part 1
Looking around the office, we see that the workforce is changing. Our new employees are young, bright, smart, ever questioning and seeking a challenge from the time they get to work! As a leader, an important question to answer is “How are you adapting to these challenges?” Let’s look at the characteristics of the Millennial generation worker.
The Millennial generation worker is between 22-35, has, for the most part, not known anything other than the digital environment, is used to questioning authority, is used to asking hard, penetrating questions and expecting to get back poignant, focused answers, not, “because we have always done it that way, or that is company policy.”
Our new millennial generation worker is used to working on teams—he/she has done that since pre-school, so now is no different—working in teams is very important to them. Their college experience has been a lot of group work, so work teams is not new to most millennials.
Rank, position, authority, power have no real relevance to the Millennial generation employee. What does have relevance is competence, skill and ability! Many millennial generation workers have no problem walking into the CEO’s office, asking some hard, penetrating questions and then expecting equally focused, detailed answers.
Multi-tasking—the ability to do 6 things at once is a key trait of the Millennial generation worker. He/She can text, type, talk, process—all at the same time—why cannot you?
Hours mean nothing to a Millennial generation employee! When you come to work at 8am, the Millennial generation worker may be just coming back from a night out—wants to get 5-7 hours of rest and is ready to hit it hard at 3 pm in the afternoon, going until midnight or 2 am—no problem. They did it in college, why cannot we do it here?
Technology—they are used to having the most current, up to date and fastest technology, not the old Windows XP computer that has been handed down to the last 3 new interns. Even though Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, the answer, “It is good enough for the new employee” no longer works! This is a question that must be addressed early.
Dress codes—what are those? Why do we have to dress—have a jacket, some type of footwear? These are all questions that need to be addressed with new Millennial workers in the on-boarding process if you expect success with the new employee?
Social and professional involvement—do you do that? Millennial workers want to be involved in their workplace, their company, their community and their nation. Does your firm support such activities? If not, now might be a great time to begin thinking how that might be done!
Mentorship—Millennials want mentorship. They want someone to help guide them in their new role in the professional world of work. Conversely, they also bring a lot to share that older Baby Boomer generation managers and leaders can take advantage of as well.
In our next post, we will address how a leader can meet the challenges of a Millennial generation worker we have identified in this blog post! Watch for it.