I’m a twenty-something in the workforce, and next year I’ll be one of many millennials who will make up the majority of the workforce for the first time ever. For all of you over-thirties out there, I thought I would give you a few pointers on what to next expect come 2015. Sure, I’m not an expert and yes, this is all based on my own personal experiences, but you’d better brace yourselves because things are going to change around here.
We’re a funny bunch. We have grown-up in a very different environment to our parents, and since you’ll likely be employing me over the next few years, you should probably understand what makes me ‘tick’. I’m sure you’ve heard all the stereotypes: yeah we use Facebook, and okay we’re familiar with technology. But what are some of the things you actually need to know when trying to motivate a twenty-something?
We value our job. Recent research from Fast Company identified that millennials value a higher paying job over marriage or owning a home* which is a global statistic. If you’re like me and live in Auckland, then buying a house is the last thing on your mind. We’re looking to get promoted quickly, learn all aspects of the business fast, and we constantly seek new experiences. We’ll work hard for you, if you’re prepared to reward us.
Culture is everything. We want to operate in a positive and vibrant working environment. We enjoy working with people we get along with, and generally try to avoid conflict. Cutting to the chase - if something feels toxic within the company culture, we’ll be out of there without a backward glance. Which brings me to my next point…
We’re not loyal. The new norm for us millennials is having experience in a multitude of diverse roles. The sooner you can understand that we like to move around pursuing bigger and better opportunities, the closer you’ll be to understanding what drives us, and ultimately how you can retain us. Confused yet?
Friendship before rank. 70% of millennials have “friended” their managers and/or co-workers on Facebook. We seek friendship first and foremost, which could also have something to do with kiwi culture. We crave a rapport and enjoy bringing a social, friendly context to an environment that is traditionally much more rigid.
We’ve got a conscience. Well, at least we like to think we do. Millennials have a social conscience - we want to know we’re making a genuine difference. You may think it’s ironic that we protest against child slavery, yet roll up to work in our Nikes. Materialism aside, most of us are concerned about the ‘greater good’, and future proofing our world to create a sustainable future.
We have a big student loan. Think about this next time you complain about how spoiled and selfish my generation is. I hope you enjoyed your free tertiary education and now that you’re my boss, next time I ask for a pay review, keep in mind that many of us have $50k+ of debt to consider.
A lot of us are creative. We’ve been raised to express emotion and wear our hearts on our sleeves. Creative millennials need to have a purpose and feel passionately about what our company is trying to achieve in order to be effective and useful. Creative millennials should be managed differently to left brainers in that they need to feel connected to the project they’re working on in order for them to add value.
Don’t micromanage us. We hate being micromanaged. If there’s one thing we strive for, it’s being given the opportunity to prove our worth, and thus being given responsibility. If you see us on our phones during the day don’t assume we’re constantly being distracted - instead start to realise that this is how we operate and we’re not slacking off from our work. If this is a problem for you, start looking for an Amish replacement.
Traditional stereotypes don’t apply. What was once considered masculine or feminine no longer applies. If some of us enjoy the rugby and drinking beer, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re jocks. If some of us care about women’s equality it doesn’t mean we’re feminists. Our generation is less worried about a person’s sexuality, where being gay is not considered a 'strange' thing. We encourage diversity, yet seek acceptance.
We’re a strange bunch of people, really. Be prepared though: with the baby boomers taking the backseat, the millennial generation is about to drive the workforce.
Read more of Sam Howie's blogs below:
'Guest blog: Deloitte Private Club Connects with Gen Y'
'Disruption is all around us'
'Content is the new black'
'What happens when Gen Y meets baby boomers in the workplace'
'What university didn't teach me'
'I Love Ugly - A menswear brand making waves'
'It's not all about the likes, bro'
'The challenge of getting social right'
'How do you satisfy Gen Y's thirst for social?'