Are you resisting Millennials?

Blog located in Culture, Hiring & Employment, Small Business posted on May 14, 2015

A large part of an employer’s antipathy towards Millennials stems from the fact that Millennials and Boomers have drastically opposing perspectives on work-life balance. Unlike Boomers, who toil during the day and leave it behind when they go home, Millennials blur the lines between work and life. Every day is Casual Friday. They can’t comprehend why they must go to the office at all. According to a 2013 study by Spherion, a recruiting and staffing firm headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, it’s “time and flexibility”—not financial compensation or benefits—that help keep Millennials loyal to their employer.

This presents a new and unique challenge for employers of all sizes and industries. The internet is filled with articles, blog posts, and e-books that aim to help employers attract, retain, manage, and understand Millennials. However, few of these tips, tricks, and advice columns are actually written by Millennials.

It’s Show Time for Gen Y

I had the opportunity to interview millennials. Let me share what I’ve heard.

“I am the product of my parents.” Both of his parents work. His birthday gift when he turned ten was an IPhone. They wanted to check on him anytime in the day. Everything he had was handed to him.  He admits it. Once he graduated from Computer Engineering and started looking for a job, he felt a disconnect between his beliefs and values with those of the employers interviewing him.

What exactly happened here? Why isn’t he being understood? What is he doing wrong?

Lo and behold, he felt employers disapproved of his demeanour.

You Need to Pay Attention to Millennials

Millennials or Gen Y will provide a new wave of human capital. In fact, studies have shown that they will reach 14% of the global workforce–as opposed to Gen X, who will decrease by 6%–by 2016. Let me share a few tricks:

  1. Since they are computer savvy, you must invest in technology and develop a paperless culture. Why would you print hard copies? They make do with reading using their device.
  2. Don’t say “no” to social media.
  3. Involve them in decision making. They will bring new perspectives and ideas to your company.
  4. Have a flex-time schedule policy. Not being at the office doesn’t mean they are not working.  Allow for a flexible time to get to the office. There are other ways of making sure work is done than asking them to be at the office from 9:00 am till 5:00 pm.
  5. If they don’t interact with your customers, they might not need to follow your dress code. Don’t allow any inappropriate attire, of course, but allow them to dress according to their own tastes.
  6. Reward their achievements as they happen. Don’t wait a whole year. Make it meaningful to them.
  7. Explain how their work fits with the vision of your company. They need to understand the big picture and how their work impacts your overall results.

Contrary to popular perception, Millennials are absolutely willing to put in hard work and long hours, and possess a distinct willingness to learn from Boomers and more experienced employees. It may require a change in your way of thinking. To paraphrase: you cannot manage Millennials. To attract them, you need to inspire them.  If you do, you’ll reduce turnover in your workforce and become part of their tribe.