Written by: Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” blog
Ever wonder why organizations spend so much research, time and money analyzing each generation, say for example the Baby Boomers? Yes, of course there’s the marketing aspect of it; after all, marketers realize the importance of understanding their target consumers. Because it’s only after they unveil information about the likes, dislikes and habits of these consumers that they’re able to better develop the right products and reap outstanding profits.
But retailers and organizations aren’t the only ones who can stand to benefit from understanding the idiosyncrasies of various generations. In fact, this information can help employers glean golden tid-bits about employees to better interact, understand and motivate them. Taking strides toward this effort can ensure that your organization is making the most of its associates by understanding each generation’s drivers, behaviors, tendencies and values, and then shaping its associate culture around those key discoveries.
At one point, Baby Boomers, also known as Generation X, drove the workforce. And that generation valued freedom, family and fun. But today, Baby Boomers are retiring or preparing for retirement and their children, Generation Y or millennials, have taken center stage and are commanding control. In fact, it’s entirely likely that you yourself are a millennial or work with someone who is.
Millennials are individuals who are born approximately between the years of 1980 – early 2000s. They’re as unique as their predecessors, Generation X-ers, and come with their own set of characteristics, ideologies and attitudes that set them apart from Generation X-ers in so many ways.
If you’re a manager or an entrepreneur looking to effectively run your team or company, you’ll benefit from understanding this group of individuals and knowing what makes them tick so that you can manage them effectively and help them be the most successful they can, both to their benefit and yours. Here are four traits of millennials that set them apart from preceding generations.
Millennials prize mobility. They don’t like being tied down to a single spot. So it’s not unlikely that you’ll come across a millennial who will tell you they don’t want to be rooted down to a single work location. Often these individuals seek jobs that offer flexibility so that they can strike the right work-life balance.
If your company has the opportunity to offer flex schedules, or remote work on a regular or occasional basis, use that as an incentive to attract top talent in the millennial age group. And if you’re fearful that these millennials will slack off, rest assured that according to studies, most people work longer hours rather than shorter when they work from home. Plus, another great trait of millennials is that they’re multitaskers, so even though they might sneak a moment to put in a load of laundry or grab a quick coffee with a friend, they’ll honor the privilege of being remote and will work twice as hard to make sure they’re able to retain it.
Saavy with social media
With the creation of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and so many other platforms that help people stay connected, it’s no surprise that millennials, who are pro-connectivity, are all about social media. And because, these individuals comprise 80 million of the population, it’s easy to understand why marketers have turned to social media full throttle for advertising, promoting and even garnering new ideas.
And if you happen to have a marketing division of your company and are fumbling with social media, who better to help revive or implement your strategy than the very people who use them the most—millennials?! Approach a millennial about help with social media, and you’re likely to see their eyes light up, signaling the start of a win-win relationship for all parties involved. You’ll be astonished by the clever tips and suggestions you might get on how you can make your company stand a chance against fierce competition, using these platforms as your arsenal.
Seek recognition and praise
Many tend to label millennials as narcissists. And it doesn’t help matters that one of the characteristics of this generation is love for praise and recognition; but don’t be quick to judge. After all, who doesn’t like being told that they’re doing a great job? If you want to point blame, direct it at their Generation X parents, who constantly showered them with praise by for the slightest successes. But all that aside, one thing you should take from this revelation is that praise goes a long way with millennials, so be generous with it—when appropriate—and don’t underestimate its power where this bunch is concerned.
Millennials seek to build strong relationships with their managers and don’t like being kept in the dark when it comes to matters concerning work, which means they value real talk and transparency. So if your workplace has major changes up and coming or is in the process of implementing a change that might impact staff, consider communicating these changes in advance to maintain the trust and respect of your millennials, if not the rest of your staff.
Millennials can be a fun group of individuals to work with if you understand what makes them tick. Once you know the idiosyncrasies of this generation, you can bet your bottom buck you’ll be on the path to a firm professional footing with this dynamic, talented group.