In recent months there have been daily reports about all things Millennials. They are the latest generation to get a hiding for having different expectations of work.
I am not a big fan of bundling a group together by age and giving them a label like Gen X or Y or Baby Boomer. These conversations nonetheless provide us with some very valuable information that will help us ready or businesses when it comes to what is changing at work.
Just this morning I read a UK based study by the Resolution Foundation that found that Millennials (people born after 1980) will be the first generation to earn less than their parents. They will earn less than people did for comparable work 10 years ago. But, the cost of living has not stood still or reduced.
The flow on effect for our economy of this sort of statistic is extraordinary. Let’s just look at housing as a common example. I’m a Gen Xer and I have a very small mortgage on a relatively expensive home – which gives me considerable equity in today’s market unless wage growth goes backwards.
It’s not just real estate that is impacted – think about all of the purchasing decisions that are affected by less money flowing around.
The job market is changing dramatically as well – we’ve got a reduction in full-time jobs in favour of more flexible working arrangements, we’ve got an expected loss of 40% of existing job in the next 10 to 15 years as a result of automation and we’ve got sluggish economic conditions in spite of record low interest rates.
It’s a pessimistic outlook and one that is shaping the actions and behaviours of Millennial workers.
What Millennials want and need…
Is the very thing that enables many of us to have things like assets and financial independence – they want opportunity.
Opportunity is the payoff from work that Millennials value more highly than everything including money. It engages them and that then helps our businesses to operate more productivity and profitably.
I was listening to Marcus Lemonis speaking about Millennials. He is a highly successful businessman and philanthropist in the US. He told the story of how he gets hundreds of requests for employment from Millennials every day and he said there was a consistent message in the requests. They all say “ I don’t care if you pay me I just want to change the world”.
This doesn’t mean that money doesn’t matter it just means that it comes second to the opportunities that a job offers. For most Millennials, making an impact is the most important motivator and engager at work. I say most because we are still talking about people and are a little more complex than a one size fits all.
How to bring out their best
What if you’re a small business that isn’t as sexy to Millennial as Uber or AirBnB, how do you offer the sorts of opportunities they want?
You create a workplace culture that motivates and engages these workers and helps them to flourish.
Once that is in place then focus on:
- Providing opportunities for growth
- Providing challenging projects
- Providing fair compensation
It’s time for us all to get that Millennials wont fit into the ways things have always been done at work. They can’t because the world has changed and they need to find ways to get what they want from this changing world.
In many ways Millennials aren’t so different from the rest us at work but they do have a very challenging and uncertain future to navigate. I believe that we need to be learning to bring out the best in our future leaders not just labelling them as difficult.
If you want to learn more about Managing and Motivating Millennials try our online course.
Have a great week