Millennials 101: Having trouble with the younger generation employees?

“Kids these days…”

Myth or a fact, whichever one of the two, there is certainly something about the so called generation-Y which Baby boomers seem to have trouble with. To start off, a short definition is necessary for this increasingly popular terminology generation-Y.

What exactly is generation-Y?

Don’t be confused as it is often used interchangeably with millennials and the Me-generation where the latter signifies one of the common characteristic – an evident individualism of this age group which often triggers a hint of frown on Baby boomers’ face. Simply put, generation-Y is that ‘younger ones’ at work – the birth years are not specific and often argued, however, from personal experience, this age group seem to range from late 1980s to mid-1990s. Apart from being digital native, their major similarities are individualism and pragmatism over loyalty in pretty much every aspect except personal parts of their lives (we can’t be too sure about the personal part as the oldest millennial haven’t lived long enough to be tested on their loyalty on personal matters).

Nevertheless, Generation-Y is currently the largest economically active group and obviously it is only going to get bigger up until Generation-Z takes over. And that is going to be a completely different story, perhaps, consider retiring before it happens. Even as a millennial the only thing I know is that I need a 10’000 page manual on how to work with the ‘Z’. So it is absolutely necessary that you figure out generation-Y as soon as possible before ‘species-Z’ join you at work.

The major distinction of millennials is their definition of and expectation from leadership. They are not necessarily the obedient type. A line from the infamous Forbes sums it up this way: “generation-Y does not work for you, they work with you.” Perhaps, consider making this your new ‘mantra’ if you would like to get your words across as a senior. Indeed, the worst leadership for millennials would be to boss around and not enable them to channel their creativity. They want to add their own little twist on what they are doing as it gives them a sense of individualism and freedom.

Then, leadership here is most accurately described as mentorship. As a mentor-leader you can do the following:

  1. Challenge them just enough to let them understand their strength and weaknesses,
  2. Delegate responsibility just enough to let them have a sense of purpose,
  3. More importantly, giving feedback consistently is crucial, regardless the positive or negative remark. This is often perceived as warm caring. Yes, constructive criticism is all they need to feel supported at work.

For prospective employers planning to attract more millennials as a workforce, there is a catch. 93% of the time a millennial would love to hear about your job offer, however, what truly makes them take the job is your company culture and value followed by the additional perks and benefits that come with it. Interestingly enough they would be attracted to your offer more if it is challenging – yes, I know, you thought they were lazy freeloaders but that is stereotyping at its best. Their achievement-oriented tendency makes challenge that more enjoyable disregarding the sector as they are most likely to compromise this factor for bigger opportunity and group of amazing colleagues. If you need more millennials, work on your company value and don’t forget to mention your reward system, after all they do have somewhat excessive need for attention and money.

Bottom line from this article is that, millennials are different from the previous generations simply because of the condition they were brought up in. Obviously, heavy impact of internet and computer significantly changed the way of things and how humans are. With such in mind maybe rethink your management strategy again, it may have worked previously but it just might not be right for ‘kids these days’…

Also, did I tell you they have a power to stretch and shrink time? The secret is their multitasking ability as well as their small need to speak face-to-face or even over phone. A simple text does the magic most of the time. Quick tip for the seniors and colleagues who enjoys speaking one on one: If they seem to be hard at work, message them. They will definitely see it, which saves time and gets your point through. Don’t forget the EMOJI if you are asking for a favor! 😊