There are not many days that go by without me hearing some reference to millennials or Generation Y. Terms that have now become so common that they have taken on a persona of their own. It seems to be a catch-all term for young people and the perceived negative aspects of their personalities. Popular culture uses them to highlight the challenges faced by young people. How they are missing out on home ownership or obsessed with the latest pioneering online fad. They seem to be everywhere and there is a good reason for that: In the next 5 years “millennials” will become the biggest generation in numbers. They will dominate society in many different ways, including the workplace. They will be your next marketers, next salesperson or next HR department head if they are not already of course. As a business owner, it is imperative you prepare yourself for this change. So what is it that this generation expect from a workplace and how do you get the best out of them? Here are four ways you can enhance your culture to get the best from them:
This generation has grown up with the internet as the dominant medium of communication. They have lived in a world where you can find almost anything out – a world in which openness of companies is encouraged as well as personal openness via social networks. There is little that is personal these days. This is why they will thrive in a culture that mirrors this. It is important you are as open as you can be with your team. Share wins and also share failings because sharing is what millennials know and love.
A generation that has grown up with everything at its fingertips sometimes struggles with everything that is available to them. The choice or amount of information can be overwhelming and sometimes disabling. It is your duty to be there for those moments in which they struggle to find the answer they are looking for or they simply need assistance in how to move forward; how to grow. Using coaching is a great way to provide assistance to their growth. Through focused time with a trained coach, they can develop their capacity to cope with the expectations placed upon them in a workplace.
In a world where you can contact an expert or fellow enthusiast on the other side of the planet and in an instant share your work with them, it would seem very strange to them that they can’t share their work with a colleague across the room to see what they think. Collaboration is deeply ingrained in this generation as they see it and do it every single day of their life via the internet. If you can create a collaborative environment within your office you will be feeding this need for sharing and growing together that is part of what millennials do.
Finally, the fourth way to change your culture is to allow your team members more autonomy. Sometimes this can be hard for people; to let go. Just think about it though, this generation has grown up searching, finding, building, creating, writing things using all the information available to them their whole lives. The speed at which they can find ideas or learn about things via the internet is way beyond any strict guidance you can provide. They will make mistakes and that is essential to the learning process. It is through this autonomy that they will grow and improve at an exponential rate.
So there you go; four ways you can create a work culture that will suit the next generation. A workplace that will get the best from the next dominant force; the Millennials. How do you think your culture is now? Do you think you are way off or already there?