Working in a Millennial world

Millennials, or those aged between 23 and 38 in 2019, are everywhere. They are now outnumbering the Generation Xers in the workplace, and are undoubtedly the future of our businesses.

But does this label really help us? Mostly, it is used in a very disparaging way, and really what we are witnessing is societal development, changing social norms and the accompanying changed behaviours that come with each new generation.

The Internet is 30 years old now, and social media has invaded all of our lives, for better or worse. Whether or not this is the catalyst, Millennials (and probably Post-Millennials) place a lot of value on two things: time and the importance of having an opinion.

A third focus is self-growth. They are not afraid to ask their employer about future career progression in what feels like five minutes after the last review. But should we begrudge these employees for wanting to be satisfied, feel recognised and have something to strive for?

Regardless of how hard we may have had it in our day, we must adapt to manage staff from this generation and find a balance that creates a sustainable workplace, even if an increased staff turnover is the new norm when compared to 20 years ago.

There is a school of thought that suggests we must set aside the view of them ‘leaving anyway’ and ask ourselves: what will we do if they stay?

Top tips for engaging and working with a Millennial workforce:

  • Be clear about job descriptions, expectations and any overtime. Don’t gloss over it as an unspoken given. It’s important now to be literal with expectations.
  • Work with younger staff to discuss progression training that can work within your development budget. Employment Plus facilitates a number of training courses that will help your staff feel they are being invested in.
  • Look for opportunities to promote flexibility in a formalised and controlled way. Can you finish earlier on Fridays in specific summer months? Can you give people their birthdays off? What about letting every employee take one day for charitable work a year? Or having a staff policy that you will match 5% of their package in training that you agree on together, based on a combined agreement of personal development goals? At The Salvation Army Employment Plus we give each of our full time staff an ADO (acquired day off) every four weeks.