By Amanda Wallin
To hire or not to hire millennials? It seems this question is becoming increasingly irrelevant as this generation now consists of people who are almost entirely of hiring age. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2015, millennials are now the majority in the workplace. This poses an interesting dynamic in office culture as hiring managers or directors are typically in a different age range or life-phase than the millennials who are applying and interviewing for entry level jobs in the current market. directors are aware of the ways in which they moved up into their positions, however they may be unaware of the expectations of this new millennial generation of employees.
In order for directors to engage their millennials hires, they need to first understand that these new employees are not out to uproot company policy or wreak havoc on the traditional workplace. The millennial mindset is that of innovation and improvement. This is not out of rebellion or criticism, it thrives from their want to push the limit and break the mold. Directors cannot expect these hires to want to slide into their work and follow the norm. This is in fact the opposite of what their generation stands for, uniqueness. As stated by an article on Entreprenuer.com, the most beneficial tactic a director can have with a millennial is to develop a relationship and recognize that their differences are their strengths. Encouragement and support in terms of personal and professional growth are key in cultivating effective millennial employees.
The concept of rigidity does not fly with this generation. They are flexible and they want their workplaces to reflect this as well. Companies who have trouble retaining millennial employees have faced challenges because of their unwillingness to grow and change with their staff. This generation is comprised of the best and the brightest, however that does not mean that they will thrive in the typical office environment. If they are expected to perform to their greatest abilities, they need to be heard and understood and cultivated. Encouragement and empowerment go a long way for these individuals-let them rise to the challenge that’s presented. Give them free reign in finding their answers and solutions. This quote from the article mentioned explains it very well, “they embrace new concepts, ideas, and technology. Because things haven’t been stagnant for much of their life, work shouldn’t be either.”
Another aspect of hiring a millennial that Directors should keep in mind is that millennials are interested in more than just securing a job. They want to have a purpose, they want to make a difference. This can be great in terms of motivation for success. If they are passionate about their work they are going to go to great lengths for their projects. This need for purpose though can hinder millennials in a variety of ways. For example, performing necessary mundane tasks (i.e. budget forms, inventory, etc.) can be quite the challenge because these tasks lack the glitz and glamour of being world changing.
Being that this generation is the new norm in office culture, companies are going to need to develop a strategy to retain and engage these employees. Do you recognize a strategy for this in your office/school? Are millennials the majority in your workplace? Are they adding to the strengths of your team? Don’t be afraid to allow them to unleash their potential!