Do we really need to be scared of Millennials?
This is one single word I see a lot these days everywhere in the workplace discussions-‘Millennials’. The concerns and worries go like ‘how can we attract and hire talented millennials’, ‘how can we engage them’,’ how can we make them stick to the company’,’ they are selfish and disloyal’, ’they don’t respect authority’ so on and so forth. These are frequent topics in twitter chat forums, blogs, conferences, surveys and every other place of discussion in the organizational realm and millennials are the most discussed generations of all times. A recent blog post at benefitspro.com by Scott Wooldridge even wonders if millennials are the new victims of age discrimination, where companies hesitate to hire people below 30.Being a millennial myself, all these really got me thinking, do we really need to be this scared of “The Millennials”??Are we that finicky and implacable? I think my perspective on this is a little different.
So as you may know, the term millennials broadly refer to the large cohort of generations born between 1980-2000 and this actually include two generations, the Gen Y and Gen Z. Which means a good bunch of millennials from gen Y are already in work place and some would have already reached middle management positions and a few bright minds even would have reached the top positions or started their own companies and those from Gen Z would be entering the workforce shortly. One significant thing that actually differentiates these generations from the previous ones is the huge advancement and access to technology which in turn has facilitated the easy access to any kind of information .This easy access to information has helped this generation become more and more independent. Before the advent of internet and World Wide Web the main sources of information used to be books or teachers or experienced people in the related fields. So for any information, people had to depend largely on other people and the conversations. Today everything is available at our fingertips. Millennials would depend on Google and Youtube before they actually seek out help to their elders or peers. That’s the way they have grown up and they would do the same at workplace too and may not always want a manager to tell them what has to be done. This independence is something that may be presumed as self-centeredness, disliking authority etc. All surveys on millennials unanimously say that they need constant feedback and just an annual performance review won’t work with them. This itself shows that millennials need guidance and mentoring and they do respect other’s opinions. What is really not required is micromanagement. Well, is there anyone out here from any generation who likes it??
Technology ,again, has helped the current generation to understand the opportunities they have all across the globe, whether the job they have now and the salary and perks they receive for that ,are up to industry standards, what other successful people in the same field are doing, how they can reach where they want to be etc etc. Unlike yester years where the only sources of job postings used to be newspapers or acquaintances and hence making switching jobs less frequent, millennials now have great exposure to the plethora of options around them. And platforms like Glassdoor are helping them take more informed decisions. Organizations can no longer keep their polices, processes, compensation, benefits and culture a secret .Also, millennials are at a young age and what matters to them at this stage is career development and growth. This was the same with all the other generations too. When people are young, they focus on growth and making money and as they grow old they move on to other phases of life where a stable life and family may become priorities. It is just that millennials have much more opportunities and exposure than the older generations. Not because they are disloyal. Infact studies undertaken by many like the talent.com, SAP, IBM etc. have shown that millennials have the same extent of loyalty towards their organizations as the previous generations. Isn’t it quite natural for all of us to go for better options in life when you know that you can have them?
So the bottom line is that yes, the millennials are tech savvy and not afraid of changes in life, but what they are doing is just to grab the opportunities and possibilities available to them like any other generations. This has been the same case with organizations too, the thriving organizations have embraced the inevitable changes. The way organizations work today is nothing like what it used to be 10 years back and it won’t be the same 5 years from now. Technology has transformed today’s workplace and it will continue to.
Millennials are just the product of the environment they have grown up which is same as the one in which today’s organizations are operating. Their characteristics may be different from the previous ones, but it is definitely not as scary as it has been projected.The key point is that give people what they deserve and they will stick to you. Be transparent and open to changes. Have trust in the new generation and invest in them. Remember that they also represent a huge chunk of the customers that the companies serve and having them as employees is something they can use to their advantage. Being scared of them is just being scared of changes and as we know those who are reluctant to change become part of history and not the present and future.
For me, being “millennial” is all about a mindset,a very confident one which has a constant quest for growth,opportunities,challenges and a wide open heart for changes.It doesn’t matter really which era you were born in and it should never be a stigma on anyone.
What do you think?Are millennials really problematic?What has been your experience?Please comment below so that we can have an enriching discussion.
The Ardent HR
Photo Credit : www.movinginsider.com