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Who are millennials?



Who are millennials?


Born between 1981 and 1996. Millennials are sometimes referred to as Generation Y. The term “millennial” is a generation cohort name – others include Generation X and Baby Boomers. These terms help segment the population into groups that share similar tendencies. It’s important to remember that the cut-off dates for this generation (and other generational cohorts) are arbitrary and, therefore, statistical analysis. For instance, very few people would identify themselves as a Millennial or Gen-Xer.

Whether or not they are stacked up against other generations is a question of perspective – they have grown up with technology that older generations don’t understand. This may contribute to millennials’ other perceived flaws but should not be discounted when considering baby boomers in the workplace.


What is the difference between millennials and other generations?


Millennials are currently among young adults. In other words, considered as digital natives, they had grown up with technology such as mobile phones and the internet and have never known a time when it didn’t play a big part in their lives.

As these generation members have established themselves in adulthood, they have proved themselves as being resourceful, self-sufficient, and curious. Their confidence and comfort in questioning authority can feel challenging to older generations who were brought up to respect their elders.  

They are less likely to own their own homes than generations before them. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, financial wealth is less important to them. This could change as millennials mature and start families. They are typically placing greater emphasis on experiences than on acquiring possessions. They are also more dedicated to wellness and are more likely to devote time and money to eating well and staying healthy than older generations.

Gender and racial equality are important to them. They have pushed for shared parental leave in many countries, and increasing numbers of millennial fathers are willing to put their careers on hold to help raise children; the stereotypical division of domestic labor is less visible in millennial families.

Generation X are adults born between 1966 and 1980. Gen X grew up at a time when technology was advancing quickly and remembers a time “before the internet”. They’re seen to be logical, good problem solvers, and are ambitious.

Baby Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964. They’re committed, self-sufficient and competitive. They are also the wealthiest generation. Their working style is more traditional, believing in the importance of a more rigid hierarchy.

Generation Z are only just entering the workforce. Pew Research states this generation contains individuals born after 1997. Because they’re still so young, it is difficult to give them clear identifying characteristics. Some of their characteristics include being ambitious, confident, and politically progressive.

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that millennials are more likely to be employed (86 percent) than any other generation in America.


What makes millennials different from other generations?


According to the Centre for Generational Kinetics research, millennials find little meaning in financial wealth and do not consider it a priority. They will also put off traditional milestones regarding economic and social sides, such as having children until they are more established in their careers, something most younger generation perceive is important before making this decision.

The Centre for Generational Kinetics interviewed them around the world. They saw that they are having a greater sense of purpose than other generations, and millennials’ use of technology has influenced this.

One reason millennials may be perceived as different is that they – like all people – have communication preferences. For example, he would rather communicate using texting and social media than through face-to-face conversation. This could be because they are technologically advanced, more trusting of technology, and simply prefer to communicate in this way. Many of this generation will expect managers to manage their performance through digital means such as email and instant messenger rather than face-to-face meetings or phone calls.

Millennials were born in a period that the great recession has shaped. As baby boomers, the average millennial has experienced slower economic growth since entering the workforce than any other generation.


What is millennials’ approach to work?


They will not want to remain in the same role for too long and will constantly be looking for something new to challenge them. Young people believe in continuous learning.

Millennials also see work-life balance as important – scheduling time outside of work that’s dedicated to hobbies or personal well-being is seen as a positive thing.


How should leaders manage millennials?


Instead of grouping your employees by age, it is more important to understand them as individuals and to tailor your approach to each individual. They are often believed to be high maintenance and more demanding than previous generations, but research by Gallup has found that the demands of Millennials can be beneficial for organizations as a whole.

As they are comfortable with change, the millennial generation can help your organization embrace progress rather than trying to avoid it.

Listening is vital when managing baby boomers because they value collaboration over individualism. Rather than explaining a task and expecting them to follow through, allowing them to contribute their ideas will prevent you from overlooking a potentially brilliant solution.

This young generation has been accused of being self-absorbed and less committed to long-term projects than previous generations. However, they see value in flexibility if they can balance their lives with various commitments. Flexible working hours can increase millennials’ productivity and demonstrate that you trust them to work independently.


How can organizations better engage millennials?


Gallup found that most of them want jobs that give them purpose, development, and a chance to make a real difference. Not only that, but they want jobs that allow them to balance their personal lives and wellness too.

Some examples of ways to better engage millennials include:


Clear communication

Clearly communicate your company's purpose, vision, and goals. Millennials want to work for something they believe in. They also want to know how their role contributes to the overall company.

They will be more engaged and committed if they understand how their job fits into the bigger picture.


Flexible working hours

Giving employees the option to work flexibly, regardless of their domestic situation.

As they value time spent with family, friends, and on hobbies. Millennials want to be able to check in with their team outside of office hours and feel they can turn down unwanted overtime requests if they have a prior commitment.


Flexible training

When they are allowed to train on equipment they need rather than what’s available, millennials become more engaged in their position. The millennial generation feels that their managers recognize their potential. Investing time in baby boomers will allow them to develop the skills they need to do their job.

What millennials want from employers is not too different from what previous generations have always wanted – a sense of purpose, feeling recognized for their efforts, and flexibility in how they achieve success.

As millennials grow older and begin starting families, they may become more accepting of traditional organizational structures that emphasize hierarchy and clear lines of authority.


Coaching Employees

To help them develop as fuller individuals. Millennials expect more from their jobs than simply moving up the career ladder. They want to be more rounded individuals. By helping employees develop broader skills such as learning new languages, mental health first aider training, or specialist technical training, you’ll show them that you care about them as individuals.


Training managers

To give employees meaningful feedback that will help them develop. They want to learn and grow, do that means if feedback is well-delivered, that will help them develop professionally will engage your millennial employees and inspire them to do their best. 


Company social events

Millennials are social creatures who appreciate the opportunity to complement their career with a work-social life balance. Organizing company social events can help them feel more engaged with your culture and boost morale.

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