By: Tina Cabias
“Snowflake generation,” “The me me me generation,” are some of the terms describing the millennials, who are individuals with magnified sense of uniqueness, unwarranted sense of entitlement, and acute case of self-centeredness.
As a millennial leader, speaking on behalf of the growing cohort, stereotyping puts fear as to what kind of future we are capable of building. Are we really sensitive, lazy, and entitled job hoppers who think only about ourselves? Or are we just the new generation catalyzing for workforce evolution?
To fully understand the millennial generation, let’s take a look back to memory lane:
With such a unique experience, millennials will enter the workforce all geared up, ready to make a difference, and prepared to rule the world.
This generation who are so used to receiving validation and instant gratification their whole lives are now part of the workforce. They will realize that job satisfaction and progression is not straight forward and instant. Soon, they will understand that they are not special unicorns; that one must work hard like everybody else and that no award will be given for getting the job done.
The millennial workforce is rapidly growing. Therefore, business leaders will achieve an edge in attracting and retaining top talents if they can speak the new generation’s language and help them transition out from the negative effects of digitization:
Leaders should know the millennials’ currency, believe it or not, it’s not all about the money.
Because of the influential role millennials play in social media, they will naturally crave for meaningful work that has a direct contribution to the betterment of any cause. Leaders’ challenge is to better sell WHY work is done no matter how small the role is:
Boredom is evil because life is a big adventure
Millennials lived in a time of constant change and evolution. Therefore, you can expect that they are more excited in coming up with new disruptive solutions, experimentation, and challenging the status quo.
Let’s face it, not all jobs are as exciting as flying a man to the moon. Leaders’ must stay creative by assigning your energy-filled talents to stretch assignments such as: leading company-wide initiatives, employee engagement activities, business process optimization, proof of concepts, small automation efforts, etc.
Business leaders should strive in finding technology partners that enables them to innovate and leverage technology. This is essential not only to survive but also to provide meaningful roles for the younger generation by reducing trivial / manual work.
It may sound like Millennials’ expectations are a bit unrealistic, but there are other creative strategies leaders can pursue to continuously engage their young talents:
Due to the image building effort millennials have in the digital world, companies should strive in making their workplace the best there is by:
Similar to SCRUM’s empirical approach, some leaders provide transparency on decision making (as applicable) and updates through regular company town-halls. Leaders should be equipped to change from command and control (authoritarian) style towards inclusive type of leadership. Scrum’s inspection and adaption teaches leaders that building a highly functional and harmonious team involves getting real by seeing the current state, being agile and open with various approaches, while collectively and continuously learning along the way.
In addition, millennials constantly look for rapid feedback to validate if they’re getting the job done the right way, with this, a more informal and “on-demand” constructive feedback can be provided as necessary.
Millennials want it all, apart from the paycheck, they want a fulfilling work, hobbies to pursue, and family to grow while avoiding burn out. These demands are possible through remote work options with the help of modern technology.
Over the years, the millennial generation accepted the griping and stereotyping from the society. But it seems that the act of scrutinizing young folks is nothing new; surprisingly, older people have been complaining about the younger generations for more than centuries with striking similarities:
The key of it all is adaption to evolution.
New generations are the product of the ever-changing environment. And it is an unmistakable reality that younger people are our future. The leaders’ main role is to assist the younger adults towards their transition – to help in leveraging their technology-fueled life as a disruptive advantage in the workplace. Leaders should remain agile and adapt to the new ways to empower millennials as the next movers and shakers of the future.