Millennials are taking over the world, the workforce, and your life, oh no!
Errbody trembling about Millennials taking over. They love to talk about how we feel “entitled.” When you had parents tell you to educate yourself and you’ll prosper, and they micromanaged your education down to the letter grade, then you enter the workforce with thousands of dollars in student loan debt, you might feel a tad entitled to a chance at a decent job too. Instead, Millennials graduated into a rotten economy and a lot are still scrambling to find a decent job.
Millennials are ready to make some changes. Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant, co-authors of When Millennials Take Over completely get it. Not at all surprising, since their main gig is to help organizations build outstanding work cultures and succeed in the age of technology.
Their book profiles exactly what a Millennial employee looks like so business leaders of a different generation (that’s you- Baby Boomers & Gen-Xers) can see why it’s important to incorporate them into their vision. There are some great examples of companies doing things right, case studies, and great takeaways to help you understand Millennials and how they can be a positive influence on your company.
We are experiencing a fundamental shift between two eras right now. The mechanical organization of the workplace, what this book calls the “machine model of management,” is falling apart. Out with the old model in with the new- which is all due to the social internet revolution. Who is on the forefront of this workforce revolution? Millennials.
With Millennials entering the workforce in droves, you may want to consider some of the tactics in this book. For those curious about how your business can incorporate these Millennials stampeding into the workforce, Grant and Notter suggest four important organizational changes you must embrace to make the transition:
1. Get digital
Digital is the most obvious keyword attached to the millennial generation. We use social technologies like they’ve always existed. Digital technology can open a new world for handling marketing, customer service, internal communication, etc.
The digital world prides itself on being innovative, and Millennials are comfortable going along with the constant change and improvement upon technologies.
If you’re old school and scoffing at this digital revolution, When Millennials Take Over argues that behind all of this technology, “is the full adoption of the core principles of what being digital means: putting the customer or user first, serving the middle, not just the top, and continuous innovation and improvement.”
Millennials can’t quite comprehend why an organization would be stingy with information. Closed door meetings, not sharing financial data, and not involving staff in the decision making process= missed opportunities to Millennials.
With the digital revolution, information flows freely. The key is making information in your organization available to more parts of the system.
While not every last bit of information should be made clear to everyone in an organization, we need to challenge the traditional notion that only upper management should know how to do certain things. The more information people have, the better the results.
Using the old bureaucracy model of management will get you nowhere with this generation. It breeds frustration, resistance, and most importantly, it prevents innovation. There is some value in a hierarchy set up because it often reduces the load, but the book explains that a smarter set up of your organization would be circles and not pyramids.
Millennials need to feel like they have a voice and are meaningful to an organization, not that they’re just one small bolt in a machine. They take great pride in feeling like they’re an important piece of the puzzle. You will see results when you shift from a pyramid to a circle.
4. Move quickly
Keeping up with all the changes during this fundamental shift in eras is not easy but it is essential in order to function in the digital age. The book calls it a “pivot,” and if you don’t pivot quickly enough, you’ll lose out to those businesses that do.
Investing in speed will help you pivot. If you find yourself struggling to keep up, you’re not alone. You know who understands the value of speed? Who understands and works best when processes change quickly because it’s all they’ve ever known? You’ve guessed it. Millennials.
So maybe Millennials don’t deserve to be labelled with that off-putting word, “entitled,” but they do have high expectations of what they want when they enter the workforce and they plan on making those expectations a reality. These guys have a lot to offer your business if you can understand them and use them properly.