Millennials, or Generation Y, is the generation following Generation X and includes those born roughly between 1980 and 1995 and have never known life without technology. They are rapidly replacing the Boomers and employers are recognizing the need to adapt old systems to increase the engagement and retention of this generation. They are confident, cooperative, and inclusive. They recognize the importance of a work-life balance and are not shy about frequently changing jobs to accommodate their lifestyle and values.
I recently attended a panel discussion at a large national manufacturer aiming to recruit recent college graduates. Each of the panel members, all in their early 20s, described their background, interests and attraction to their particular role and to the company. Midway through the dialogue, a young woman ended her comment with, “…and this is the reason I stay here,” which struck me. As a Gen Xer, we normally remain with an employer until we have a reason to leave, rather than looking for a reason to stay.
Establish an organizational culture conducive to the engagement of the millennials and it will be a win for all. In this spirit arose the Reverse Mentorship, where a more and experienced employee is paired with a younger, more tech-savvy “mentor”, providing a transfer of knowledge to the younger person and a skills update for the older person, giving both purpose.
These young adults also value collaboration, working alongside others while receiving regular feedback. This desire for immediate feedback is expected and in part due to growing up in the age of social media where they receive instant reactions to posts and comments.
Flexible work hours are highly desirable. A flexible schedule can be a stronger recruitment tool for a position than benefits. The Millennial seeks a quality personal life and is willing to get the job done outside of traditional work hours.
Lastly, provide horizontal career opportunities. Since money isn’t the driver for this type of worker, it is important to find the right fit and they appreciate the chance to try out various jobs to ensure satisfaction in their job.
Understanding what motivates the future workforce and how to accommodate their work style, employers can increase productivity resulting in healthier work environments and will benefit all generations.
Lisa Grottodden is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.
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