management for one simple reason: millennials are everywhere! Millennials are now starting to formulate a majority of the consumer market as
well as the workforce. It is because of the differences that exist within the personality and attitude of the millennials that we are being
forced to change our old ways. We commonly hear this as “Generational Disruption.” There are
many personalities and behavior attributes that can be used to explain this disruption.
Understanding the DifferencesWhat are these differences and why do they exist? In order to explore the idea of changing the workplace culture to accommodate a new
generation, it is first important to understand what differences exist and why they exist.
1. Different Concept of Hierarchy
It would be incorrect to assume that the millennials do not conform to hierarchical structures because of a lack of respect. Rather, the reason behind their, at times
seemingly challenging, attitude towards management is because of their belief in a culture that takes into account every individual’s
opinions. For millennials, the lines of communication should always be open and not be restricted by any hierarchical division. We must
listen to this generation in a way that we were never heard!
2. Tech Savvy
Born with technology in their hands and the increased use of technology during their early life, millennials are more tech savvy than any other generation (except perhaps their youngercounterparts) to this point. Thus, they believe in introducing solutions that are tech-friendly in the workspace and they are not afraid of the ever-changing technology landscape, theyembrace it and even demand it. Because of thislove for technology, millennials often bring numerous technical skills to the table,something that was not the norm earlier. They embrace technology, we must embrace them and the technology!
3. Highly SocialA side effect of the high use of technology is the high use of social media platforms. You can expect that your millennial employees will not keep the information that they have to
themselves. Because of their highly social nature and their ability to easily share their opinions with the world, they believe in using
social media platforms to the fullest. Because of this sociability, they also have a high level of social awareness common amongst them. Sticking together as a team and demanding equality and fairness for all employees is a
strong trait that we can sometimes misread as “socialism” but that is part of a larger tendency for people to look for workplaces that they feel
supports and empowers its employees and is not simply a place to punch a clock.
4. Sense of EntitlementYou may see that individual belonging to this generation have a false belief that they are entitled to have something just because theythink they deserve it. We did this! Yes, as
parents of this generation, we are guilty of instilling this quality, some would say this is a result of “bad parenting.” Thus, it is extremely
important to understand that you will need to give the millennials some time to realize the importance of proving themselves before
asking for something in return.
5. FeedbackBecause of the ease of communication in today’s world, millennials firmly believe in giving and receiving feedback. Feedback for millennials
is not seen as once-a-year activity but is rather appreciated whenever it is given. The millennials require feedback in order to identify the
direction they are going in. This is why constant feedback is not only appreciated by them but is actually demanded.
6. Relationship BuildingMillennials have a great respect for working like a community. That is why you will never have problems when trying to form unity amongst them.
Millennials work together and appreciate a work culture wherein the whole company operates as a big community. They do not mind spending extra
hours at work if they feel like their company treats the whole team as a big family rather than employees.
How to Effectively Work with MillennialsOnce you have understood the differences that exist within this generation, it is time to decipher what changes are needed to be made to the
existing culture to effectively work with millennials. In this section, we introduce a seven step approach that can be used by leaders
to make the process of working with millennials smooth.
1.TransparencyPracticing transparency is extremely important when trying to introduce a workplace culture that is seen favorably by millennials. As mentioned earlier, millennials do not consider the hierarchical
structure to be everything. Thus, it is important that a culture is created that promotes open communication and executes an open-door
2. Promotion & CompensationMillennials are equipped with numerous skills that make them ready for their role in the company as 19 Forum
soon as they join. This is why it is important to
take into account the skills and results shown by a particular individual when contemplating granting promotion. There is no need to make an employee wait for a particular number of
years to promote them; rather, promotion shouldbe based on the skill set of each individual. Similarly, the compensation plan should also
be designed according to the skill set of every employee that you hire.
3. Become Tech-FriendlyDue to the high use of technology by millennials, it is important to give them an environment that incorporates advanced
technology. Keeping an open mind about the new ways in which technology facilitates different processes isimportant for creating a
millennial-friendly work culture. It’s also worth pointing out that this is not just a “milllenial” issue, being on the cutting edge of technology is important for remaining relevant and
4. Practice Active ListeningMillennials believe in respecting each person’s opinions and thoughts. That is why they crave a culture that practices active listening towards all
employees. Thus, it is important that you develop a culture wherein the needs and wants of the employees are taken into consideration
when designing different policies. This will make them feel valued and appreciated.
5. AppreciateThe importance of feedback has already been discussed in the above. Keeping this need in mind, it is imperative that companies engage in
regular feedback and appreciation activities. An award for employee of the year, mentioning a particular employee in the monthly newsletter,
creating a physical space for posting postive comments, and shining a light on exceptional work via a simple email or verbally at an
employee function are all different ways adopted by companies in order to foster an appreciation-giving culture.
6. Instill AccountabilityTo avoid a sense-of-entitlement take over, you have to make sure that you practice certain rules that instill accountability in the minds of your
millennial employees. This is vital to their growth and development. A culture wherein everything is based on merit is the best way to do this. Your
employees should know that they will receive rewards only if they put in the required effort and that problems with attitude or
performance will be addressed appropriately.
Bottom LineThe violent need for change within organizations has introduced a shift in workplace cultures around the world. Recognizing the
importance of implementing this change is vital to the success of any organization. Without incorporating these changes to the workplace
environment, organizations risk losing the chance to reap the benefits that are associated with having well-developed, passionate and purpose-filled millennial talent. Let’s embrace them and change our workplaces!