The millennial generation is the largest age group to enter the workforce since the baby boomer generation and is significantly impacting the way businesses operate. These tenacious individuals will continue to instigate change over the next twenty years, and if employers want to keep productive workers, they will need to make adjustments in their HR departments and engagement models.
Baby boomers and Gen Xer’s grew up working for organizations with corporate hierarchies and identified strengths as being hardworking, dedicated, and willing to work long hours. Discrimination and sexual harassment were frowned upon but tolerated, and many parents thought the only way to climb the corporate latter was to sacrifice time with their families.
Millennials have a drastically different outlook on what they expect from their employment experience. Millennials are educated, skilled in technology, able to multitask, and have a thirst for justice. They prefer flat management structures and teamwork-based job roles, and as the business world steers into the twenty-first century, millennials are at the wheel. Here are five ways this generation are influencing human resource departments to change.
Evolution in the EEO Laws
Equal employment opportunity laws have been around since the Civil Rights Act of 1964–and fifty-five years later they are still being violated. The millennials have an appetite for fueling change and are on a crusade to balance out the issues of discrimination and sexual harassment. The #MeToo movement has gained momentum, and there is no way the millennials are going to allow it to go backward. Given the amount of activism we’re seeing in young people nowadays, companies have no choice but to focus on and remedy matters related to diversity, inclusion and healthy corporate culture.
Experience over College Degrees
Udemy, Youtube, and many other internet sites are hubs where people can learn almost any subject known to humankind. A person who has educated themselves versus going to college and receiving the same information as all the students in their class is becoming a hot topic among HR recruiters. Self-taught job candidates demonstrate natural qualities of leadership, motivation, innovation, and dedication. Many millennials have come to see college degrees as an unnecessary financial debt and set out to find positions that recruit based on skills, experience, and established results rather than hiring someone with a college degree.
Millennials work to live–they don’t live to work. Many of them watched their parents dedicate their lives to their jobs only to be dumped by their employers during the 2008 recession. This new generation dominating the workforce will not stay late without compensation, nor work for management that won’t give them the proper training and tools to do their best job. Millennials would rather become a freelancer working on many meaningful projects than to work for a company with no vision, conscience, or company culture. They will choose freedom over financial rewards when it comes to adhering to the way businesses have operated in the past, and they expect more from their employer than just a paycheck.
Transparency in the Workplace
Millennials want interconnectivity throughout the company they work for, keeping everyone informed, so no one is blindsided by change. A lesson they learned from being a kid during the Great Recession of 2008 and watching their parents and family members lose everything as companies jumped ship and left employees to fend for themselves. Representing a significant portion of the workforce and not trusting adult establishments, demands by millennials for transparency from the management and executive departments of companies is only going to increase.
The old corporate culture has always been competitive, where people do everything they can to get ahead, but millennial employees don’t abide by this cutthroat style of employment. They have seen that money and status do not buy happiness, and prefer to work together as a whole than compete as individuals. Studies show that 88 percent of millennials prefer a collaborative workplace over a competitive one and find that innovative ideas come quicker when people are paired or work as a group on a project.
In conclusion, HR managers who are used to certain practices to recruit, engage, and motivate baby boomers and Gen Xer’s are going to have to change their ways and mindset if they hope to attract and retain the newest contender in the workforce. Good HR practitioners realize that investing in and developing employees is the key to securing the success of the company and can look to millennials to help redefine ways to increase productivity. In-office snack bars, nap pods, flexible work hours, or shorter work days are some ideas that have increased commitment and productivity. As the millennials become the new face of company management and business practices, businesses today need to step out of the competitive mind to find new strategies to cultivate, motivate and retain employees.