They’re deep in debt, born with a digital device in hand, and distrust many of the institutions of the past. They are the millennial generation. They are unlike any that have come before. While that may sound like a standard trope for anything new and unfamiliar to the older set, millennials represent the culmination of the 20th Century’s advances, and declines. At 77 million, they represent the largest living generation. They are a force to be reckoned with. Their diversity of experiences, vast knowledge, and boundless energy is sure to transform workplace culture in dramatic ways.
One key way that millennials will change the workforce is found in their diversity. Up to 40 percent of all millennials are of a non-caucasian heritage. Many of them were born to immigrant families and so many speak multiple languages. They like and expect diversity in the workplace, and are even more likely to start businesses of their own.
According to a White House paper on millennials, over half have expressed a desire to create their own business. Given that they are better-informed and more highly educated than previous generations, their older members will soon take steps to achieve this goal. For this reason, employers need to be aware that their younger employees have a drive to be creative. They are a generation that is used to constant connectivity and interaction, so repetitive tasks and routines may not be a good way to attract the best and brightest employees.
Connectivity is a key theme when it comes to discussing millennials. They have always had the Internet and ¾ of them have a social media account. Millennials are more likely to have access to information on you and your company that even you might not be aware of. While you may want to check up on potential employees, they are also checking review sites and other message boards to discover what present and past employees have to say about you. When it comes to recruiting, do as much research on current opinions about your own company as you might on a potential employee.
Values and Loyalty
One upshot of hiring millennials is that they are more likely to be loyal than previous generations. Millenials stick with their employers longer than Generation X did. They also value strong ties to community and family. Far from the tempting image of millennials as narcissistic flakes, these young people are connected to real-world institutions and values on a level that rivals other generations.
Millennials have also grown up with more choices than any other generation. They have been overstimulated with media and marketing messages since they were toddlers. They are thus more likely to be intrigued by appeals to authenticity and real value than name brands and flashy perks. In a sense, they’ve heard it all before. They know the pitch before they hear it, so they need messages that convey real value. Millennials are more likely to be attracted to job descriptions and work that brings value to themselves and society.
Millennial workers are here. They are making a dramatic impact on society at all levels. They are the Internet generation and they are also the generation that is stepping into public life with concerns for society and the environment. Your business will surely benefit when it harnesses this wave of new energy and creativity. It’s bound to be a wild ride, so hold on tight.