Millennials – is what they seek realistic?

There are two schools of thought on the millennial generation, ranging from, ‘they are the entitled generation’ to ‘the generation of change’.  Whatever definition is applied, one issue is clear, this generation does at some level represent change in the workplace and they clearly strive for a balanced life – desiring fulfillment at both work and home.

We have all heard that the four core needs for a millennial in the workplace are:

  1. Treat us as if we contribute to the company. Allow us to integrate our thoughts and ideas into the company.
  2. Allow for collaborative interaction. Millennials allegedly thrive on both giving and receiving feedback and want their input to be heard on important issues and strategies that shape the direction of the company.
  3. They want constant discussion – not just the once a year company review.
  4. Tell us why. Millennials need to ask why and need more than the stand by job description – they crave depth and meaning.

So how realistic are these needs;

Unlike the baby boomer generation and generation X, the millennial wants to be home for dinner and want fulfillment from their job.  Well that is something we all want. As a baby boomer, I want these things to, however, reality sets in quickly when bills have to be paid and you have a deadline to meet outside the 9 to 5 work schedule. The key is remaining flexible in managing expectations. The advantage in today’s environment is that many employers are beginning to realize the advantages of accommodating flexible work schedules as long as it does not impede in the company achieving its financial goals.

As for collaborative interaction while a fabulous idea, is not always applicable simply because a great number of Millennials do not have the experience/depth needed for making major decisions about the growth and direction of a company. However, what they can bring to the table is a fresh perspective and how the company can communicate to the millennial demographic.

Where I do see improvement for companies is communicating with millennials about job performance on a quarterly basis vs. once a year. Another way companies can be progressive with this issue is to ask each team member what their expectation are from the company in terms of career growth and assign a mentor within the company to guide the individual.

As for explaining while addressing the job description, I am on the same page as the millennial. Over the course of my career, I have always run into this challenge where the job description was too vague and the employer would continually add to the description to where it no longer resembled what I was hired for.  My motto: if you want the job done the way you want it, you must invest the time to show the employee how to accomplish the task and explain why it needs to be completed that way. In the long run the employer will receive the results they want and an employee who understands how they positively contribute to the company.

My advice to millennials is to be flexible in expectations by merging both old school and new school expectations while being reasonable about demands. One cannot ask for accommodations, if they have not proven they can carry out the responsibilities they have been tasked with. You have to earn the right to be heard and to be taken seriously.

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