Life is filled with burning questions that often go unanswered. How many iPhone generations will you see in your lifetime? How many selfies is too many?
Among these questions is one that is baffling business leaders everywhere: how do I deal with millennials in the workplace? As organizational culture expert Jamie Notter explains,
"Every 20 years or so, a new generation enters the workforce, and the rest of us, quite frankly, freak out about it."
Jamie Notter has been consulting for organizations and speaking around the world since 2001. He applies his expertise and unique ability to work through managerial challenges to deliver powerful results for clients of all sizes and from a variety of industries.
Jamie's most recent publication with Maddie Grant, When Millenials Take Over , ties together several different threads of their combined 35 years of experience into a powerful guide to creating organizations that will thrive in these revolutionary times.
When Millennials Take Over
We recently sat down with Jamie to discuss how to engage the millennials in your office and customer base to get the most productivity from your business units and incorporate their strengths. Every organization has a millennial or two, or three considering they represent 80 million of the US population. This interview lays out some constructive guidance for working with millennials.
Takeaways on How to Engage Millennials
We recommend that you watch the whole thing. However, if you are running late for a meeting because your Outlook Calendar never seamlessly syncs with your iCal, here are the most tweetable takeaways:
Millennials represent the largest group in the workplace.
Why should you care about millennials? There are more of them than any other group in the workplace. Millennials surpass the baby boomers in size. When a large portion of your current and future workforce fit this persona, adjusting your management style will be critical to the growth of your organization.
Millennials aren't smarter than prior generations, but understanding their worldview is instructive.
Millennials are often criticized for their differing perspectives such as a desire for transparency and constant connectivity through social media. However, instead of criticizing these viewpoints for being outside the norm, we should learn from them as the world is rapidly moving in that direction. Failure to deal with millennials will only lead to scrambling in your organization in future years.
Organizations should be structured and run to optimize user (employee) experience.
It's not about giving into the needs of the millennial. It's about building an organization that fits the needs of what your organization wants to yield from its employees.Failing to consider the "user" experience will lead to frustration that will only build over time. Invest in the most up to date technology and resources for your employees to maximize employee engagement.
All employees are striving to provide more value to the organization. When your employees feel like they have the resources needed to be successful, they will be engaged.
When it comes to engaging your millennial customers, make things visible.
Millennials grew up in the age of Google as a verb. The answer to any questions is just one swipe and a few keystrokes away. Having things out in the open makes sense to the millennials in your customer base. Organizations trying to attract this group relies on transparency. Your millennial customers want to be in the know about all of the things your company is doing from product innovations to software updates.
The "demands" of millennials in the workplace come from a place of logic, not selfishness.
As a millennial, this was my favorite takeaway from the entire interview. It was the first time that someone adequately explained my feelings when someone asks me to use Internet Explorer (soon to be Microsoft Edge).
Asking me to use outdated technology is asking me to be an inefficient employee. It's equivalent to me telling you that if you want a bowl of cereal, even though there is milk in the fridge, you need to run around the block and get that milk. It seems illogical to not use what is right in front of you. The attitude of millennials isn't laziness and it isn't an unwillingness to adapt, it's a drive for efficiency.
The work styles of millennials have often been portrayed as entitled and stubborn. Rather than dealing with their need for the latest technology and company transparency at every level; organizations should embrace these perspectives as informative to the future of organizations.