Millennials – those belonging to the generation born between 1983 and 2000 – are expected to enter the workplace en masse during the next few years. Many estimate that by 2020, Millennials will make up more than half of the entire workforce. What does this mean for industry and economy? While some worry that Millennials are some of the most sheltered, entitled, pressured people to ever walk the Earth, many cite the generation’s tech-savvy nature and unique modes of thinking and problem solving as assets to the workforce.
Both the good and the bad that comes along with the generation are probably going to mean big changes in the future workplace. While Millennials are characterized by their coming-of-age during the worldwide recession of 2008, they have also grown up in an incredible amount of comfort. They can barely remember a world that wasn’t connected by online community, and they’ve adjusted to the 24-hour news cycle. They’re used to the idea that whatever technology is hot today probably won’t be for long.
Millennials are open to society’s changing ways, with many believing that it’s okay for couples who aren’t married to live together, gay marriage is just fine, and sharing personal information on social media is completely normal. Many members of this generation are known to sleep with their cell phones, text while driving, and get tattoos. Interestingly, they’re less likely to vote independent than Generation X or the Baby Boomers.
Rather than seeking job security and structure, Millennials want flexibility in the workplace. More than previous generations – who sought high-paying jobs – they want to perform meaningful work and gain a sense of accomplishment from their endeavors. Unlike previous generations, however, they don’t particularly care for extra workplace responsibilities. Only 5 percent of Millennials said they sought responsibility at work.
How can employers get the most out of this entitled generation? Using motivational tools and measures of success seem to do the trick. After all, this generation has grown up in the midst of the child protection policies established in the 80s and parents and teachers who gave them quality feedback every step of the way.