Millennials (or Generation Y) have the members of Generation X as the largest segment of the American workforce. They have also the Baby Boomers as the country’s largest living generation in terms of population.
What this means is that Millennials in the workplace have the power to shape an organization over the short and long term, given the right training and opportunities.
What makes Millennials different?
Certainly, each generation will make boasts about how great and significant they are. But what makes Millennials different from other generations, specifically from Gen Xers and Baby Boomers? In the context of the workplace, there are a few areas where Millennials differentiate themselves.
Millennials put emphasis on growth
More often than not, they will seek opportunities for growth outside of your organization.
On average, a Millennial will stay in a company for . In contrast, a Gen Xer, on average, will stay with the same company for five years, and a Baby Boomer will stay with the same company for seven years.
Unlike their counterparts, Millennials have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and will actively seek out opportunities for career advancement.
Millennials seek coaches
Millennials do not look for bosses to give them directions. Instead, they seek out mentors who can make them feel valued and supported. When these needs are met, they can form valuable relationships and become more productive employees
Millennials thrive in a balanced and democratic environment
The success of some of the leading companies today, including Uber and Airbnb, are anchored upon the idea of giving consumers a platform for democracy and accessibility.
In the context of the modern workplace, most Millennials seek opportunities to attain benefits like telecommuting as these afford them time savings and convenience.
Other key differences
Millennials are considered to be the of all the generations currently working. They also rely upon social media to find opportunities. And compared to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, members of Generation Y are among the most enthusiastic about their jobs.
However, Millennials are considered to be poor team players and are often seen as the least hardworking.
Retaining Millennial leaders
Whatever your opinions may be about members of Generation Y, one thing is for certain: They are here to stay and make an impact on your company.
As such, it is imperative for businesses to find ways to attract, engage and train future leaders in meaningful and impactful ways.
How can you achieve these key goals?
In attracting Millennials to work for your company, you cannot rely on the strategies that your business has used for other generations. Remember, members of Generation Y have a special affinity for social media and that is the best platform for attracting top talents from this generation. It cannot be over-emphasized that companies should put ample focus on their presence on social networking sites.
Engage and train
Once you have attracted top talents, the focus shifts toward ensuring that new hires are engaged and become productive. Training programs should be implemented as soon as possible. It also helps to put into place a feedback mechanism whereby companies can learn what employees think of them.
Organizations should also remember that Millennials are big on the idea of inclusiveness. As such, training programs should provide different kinds of learning and relationship building opportunities, depending on the employee and their needs.
Continuing opportunities for mobility
Millennial employees need to be provided with opportunities for development and upward mobility. Identify potential leaders from this generation, and pay special attention to specific areas where your Millennial employees want to grow and develop. Provide them with opportunities to do so.
Shifting the paradigm
Although Millennials thrive in an environment where opportunities for are put into place, organizations should also consider giving Gen Y employees an opportunity to play mentor to their older counterparts. For Millennials, this paradigm shift provides them with a chance to work closely with senior members, as well as giving them increased visibility within the organization. For all members of the workplace, this can facilitate a surprising exchange of information!
The modern workplace is in a constant state of flux and evolution. And in order for companies to gain and become responsive to changes, it is crucial for them to develop and retain its future leaders – the Millennials.
Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.