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Working with Millennials

Born between the years 1980 and 2000, Millennials are also known as Generation Y. The oldest Millennials are now 36 and are moving into more senior business roles. Many think that Millennials have been pampered by their Baby Boomer (Generation X) parents. A lot has been written about this generation’s I-come-first attitude, their affinity to social networking, fondness for all forms of consumer electronics, and constant need for feedback and change, but these attributes shouldn’t necessarily be considered as negative. Millennials can be a welcome addition to any team. They may be somewhat non-conformist but are constantly challenging the conventional way of doing things and tend to innovate and drive change.

Millennials are often berated for their reported lack of communication skills. This is largely attributed to their mastery of text messaging which utilises abbreviated words and extensive use of social networking sites which encourages informal communication. Sometimes this abrupt style of communicating is manifested even in their dealings in the workplace. This is counter balanced by the fact that Millennials communicate a lot – and communication is key to the success of any business. The key is to channel this need to communicate. If they have a good network within their firm – Millennials will be able to bring people together and disseminate information across the business.

Commitment Issues
In contrast to the baby boomer parents who often viewed their job as a “job for life” and remained loyal to the firm, Millennials have no qualms about jumping from one job to another. Their lack of commitment to any business is such that even if they were offered higher pay or more ideal working conditions, they would still move on if they felt like it.

Career Advancement
While Millennials don’t always see themselves staying with a company for the long term, it doesn’t stop them from aspiring to climb the career ladder – and fast. Armed with confidence and university degrees, Millennials manage to advance themselves quickly but they may lack the management skills needed for higher positions. In addition, they are bound to clash with the more embedded senior employees who are adamant about sticking to the traditional corporate norms.

Work Habits and Attitudes
Millennials are also not keen about keeping to the usual 9 to 5 schedule that comes with the traditional desk job. While they do value structure, they tend to thrive in a creative environment that doesn’t put too much emphasis on when and how a job is done, only that it gets done. And with their adeptness for anything electronic, they tend to innovate through the use of systems and technology to find faster and better ways of getting things done. Millennials need to be given the space to do things in their own way and in return the business should benefit from innovative solutions created by these smart employees.

Andy Scott

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