Managing The Millennial Generation In The Workplace

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 11 June 2014
Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite
Issues covered:

Caroline McEnery writes:

Generation Y or Millennial’s are defined as people born between the 1980s to the 2000s.  Now the first members of this generation are currently approaching their thirties and it is expected that by 2025, millennial’s will make up roughly 75% of the world’s workforce. They are many similarities between Generation  Y  and  Generation  X,  as  Gen  X  raised  their  children  to  have  the  same  expectations  as themselves but there are many differences also. Gen X were motivated by different factors and toiled to achieve what they considered success. Generation Y on the other hand, although also career driven, are more motivated by a desirable work life balance.

Millennial’s know that getting the job done is about being innovative and working across fields. They are optimistic, confident, committed and can be hugely creative. Largely they are well educated, determined and driven. Furthering their education is of great importance to them and career progression, training opportunities, and personal development are considered far more important than financial reward. They consider work life balance as key to their career.

Millennial’s make themselves aware of the company culture of their prospective employers. They ensure that the company mission aligns with their own ideals and ambitions. They want to know that they will be a valued member of the workforce and will be given the opportunity to grow and develop within the company. During the recession training and learning opportunities within companies decreased as cuts were introduced but that is now changing seeing as millennial’s are beginning to dominate the workforce. A greater focus on personal development and employee engagement is a key incentive to retaining talent in this age.

Millennial’s are highly flexible and this is thanks mainly to leaps in technology. They like the mobility that technology gives them. It gives them the freedom to operate their business anytime often meaning they are happy to put the extra hours in. This also allows them to escape the rigidity of nine to five. Being the technology generation they have the capacity to work smarter having the ability to access information and share knowledge faster than ever. To adapt to the needs of the millennial, today’s working environments are changing. Many working environments are much more open now. Larger organisations in Ireland have adopted homely style offices with the aim of providing a cooperative and friendly atmosphere to suit the millennial.

The best way to maximise the millennial’s potential is by giving them clear instructions, a timeframe to get the work done and the scope to use their initiative. Employers should be aware of the importance of employee engagement and personal development plans to the millennial. Employee Engagement involves teambuilding, motivation, and empowerment together. When an employee is truly engaged they will be happy in their job and will translate this into higher productivity. Employees will believe in what the business is trying to achieve and are given the opportunity to help realise company goals. They will play an active role in making the company a success. In an organisation where employee engagement is high there will be strong leadership and clear aspirations to where the company needs to go. Communication is the key and where communication is regular, open, two way and more importantly effective, employees will be more engaged. For most employees having a sense of challenge is vital to how engaged they feel with the business. When work is mundane naturally they will feel less engaged.

The basic building block of engagement is clarity - it is essential that employees understand both aspirations and expectations. The Benefits of Employee Engagement include increased productivity producing ultimately better results. Employees are happier, more engaged and more involved in achieving the aims and goals of the business. Nothing can really be achieved if employees do not buy into the aims of the business and by lifting each individual’s level of engagement you can make a big difference to your business. It is important to really believe in the value of individual contribution to an overall increase in business productivity.

Personal development plans can be created following the annual or bi annual performance appraisal. Performance appraisals are an opportunity to discuss individual performance and provide detailed feedback. You can also take this opportunity to discuss the employees plan for development. The Millennial will appreciate this analysis of their performance and the attention to their development with the company going forward.

Millennials want to be heard and if their opinion isn’t appreciated they want fair feedback. Giving constructive feedback that highlights areas for personal development as well as what they are doing well can be a challenge. Millennials tend to have less resilience towards the objective feedback they receive in the workplace so it is imperative to ensure this is framed correctly.

This article is correct at 07/10/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite

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