Listen Up, Leaders: We Are All Millennials
A lot of digital ink has been spilled regarding Millennials and how they are reshaping and reordering the workplace. I’m happy to report that ink has not been wasted. The influx of Millennials into the workforce tops virtually any short list of today’s business trends. No doubt, Generation Y is poised to make a big impact on the world of work. But are the supposed differences of the most tech-savvy generation in history all they are cracked up to be? Even more importantly, how will generational differences play out when it comes to leadership development, workplace culture and recruiting? Here are a few points worth considering:
- Millennials And Non-Millennials Are More Alike Than Not: Sure, Millennials have a language all their own, which is not easy for outsiders to decipher. But studies of Generation Y show that they value many of the things other generations value: like hard work, fair compensation, and establishing the right blend between career and family. On yeah, there’s another trait they share with the rest of humanity: they thrive on leadership and team feedback. Yes, today’s twenty-somethings are a new breed of human, but they are not necessarily a breed apart.
- Employee Engagement: Just like everyone else, millennial employees seek and appreciate basic acknowledgement. However, they do differ in the way they expect feedback to be communicated. This is the generation that grew up with Instant Messages and texting. They assume that communication works at the speed of light. And they are right. Taking a week to recognize a job well-done makes about as much sense to them as sending an offer letter by pony express.
- Embracing The Winds Of Change: Millennials are fearless when it comes to digital and technology. Let’s wrap our minds around the Cloud, Big Data, and the globally inter-connected workplace. They can run social media circles around the rest of us. Right? Well, Sort of….On second thought, these aren’t just traits of a single generation, so much as skills necessary to succeed in the future that is unfolding before our eyes. We are all Millennials now, like it or not.
- Generational Communication: We live in an era of virtually unprecedented generational diversity. Every generation has strengths and weaknesses, but differences in communication styles can breed misunderstanding and conflict. Organizations need strategies that will help them mentor younger generations and encourage all age brackets to work cohesively. Communication styles need to be tailored to each person’s needs. Similarly, dissimilar age groups respond to different incentives. For example, members of Generation Y may value flextime more than financial compensation. Of course, grooming today’s talent for leadership positions of the future is part of how tribal wisdom is transmitted. Here, more seasoned workers can share their valuable experience while younger employees share their knowledge of technology.
Generation Us is entering the workplace in a big way. We have the power to change the way we work, for the better. Our tech and digital skills will help us deal with a world that is more global, diverse, and fast-changing than ever before. We must embrace change, technology, and more disruption because that’s where the future is going, in a hurry.
A version of this was first posted on Forbes.
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