I was reviewing articles I’d written in the past, and I came across the text below. What I find interesting is that 5 years later, the same complaints, resistance to change and worry of the “young generation” persist. So I thought I’d share the content one more time along with a couple of reminders to leaders out there!
First, Millennials are approaching 40 — we’re not talking about them anymore. When you’re worried about the skills and values the college grads are bringing, we’re talking about Gen Z.
Second, change is NOT a bad word. I think in some perspective it’s important to look at what Millennials were asking for 10 years ago — more flexibility, better work/life balance, a pay ratio that supports the idea of buying a home, and agility in organizations. If we’d included these ideas 10 years ago, we would have been better prepared for the very fast transitions the pandemic forced.
Infrastructure would have already been well in place for remote work, we’d already be supporting more flexible schedules, and we might even be in a better place than we are with the “workplace revolution.” Change will continue to come at us, and we could learn a thing or two from any generation that is brand new to the workplace. What can we learn from Gen Z – Before the change is forced and painful??
See my words from 2017! Still applicable today. Happy Reading
It’s not uncommon to hear managers and business leaders complain about millennials; it’s not uncommon to hear the word millennials said as if it were a curse word, either. Millennials have been labeled as narcissistic, needy, entitled and much more.
Here’s the challenge; they are also the largest population of available workers, and soon they will be leading strategic organizational decisions. So, what does this mean? It means that change is coming. Organizations, small and large alike, need to begin to allow for some concessions for this group of technically savvy and highly educated workers to thrive. This is where we often see immediate resistance, “why should I have to change.”
Change is NOT a bad thing
Let’s turn that around for a moment, when did change become bad? What happens if you don’t change? Here are few things you can easily implement to make the workplace more receptive to the needs of the young professionals.
- Plan regular feedback sessions, sit down with the workers at regular intervals, asks what’s going well, ask where they feel like they are contributing and most importantly ask about their ideas. Did you know, 62% of millennials are interested in being entrepreneurs? Unfortunately, due to record high levels of student debt, they lack the resources. So, as a business owner, you may have tons of untapped potential.
- Offer more professional development opportunities; the group is considered “THIRSTY” when it comes to learning, they desire to be employed by a company willing to invest in them and contribute to their overall knowledge base. Professional development can include workshops, team building, volunteer opportunities, establishing an official mentoring program and much more.
- Learn what participative leadership looks like, they not only expect to be included in planning and decisions, when they take leadership roles they will expect to be able to consult their teams. Hierarchical approaches will fade; if your organization can’t adapt, you may not be able to continue to attract this generation.
Opening up to opportunities
Some of this may seem simple and possibly even obvious, but the reality is that leadership and organizational culture changes slowly and happens only with purposeful efforts. Either you shape your organization the way you dream it, or the negative influence of dissatisfaction will begin to corrode the foundations that have been built.
There is so much opportunity available for businesses willing to utilize the new types of skills the millennials will bring to organizations. These skills include their ability to increase social media presence, a comfort with change and technology, increasing efficiency and increasing an organization’s social responsibility impact.
Take a chance; you may be surprised!