By 2020, Millennials will account for over half of the world’s workforce.
Research recommendations are divided, is adjusting our workplaces to engage millennials in a crowded and competitive employment market a good idea? Should we change our ways to meet this generations needs to perhaps enhance productivity and retention? Do we care what Millennials stand for? Should we have to indulge their need to be told they are loved and update scoreboards to track their compliments? These are just some of the questions past generations are asking.
What are we told about Millennials?
Millennials are more adept with technology, devices and innovation. They want to work for a company with an employer brand that appeals to their sense of achieving. They want to have an impact and a purpose. Millennials also want regular feedback, they want to have a say and work collaboratively. This doesn’t have to be in an open plan office or face-to-face, they have grown up using technology to communicate. Whether this is through an internal messaging system or social media, Millennials will collaborate in the way they know best. This is not around a boardroom table! Millennials stand for empowerment and workplace flexibility. They want to work from home. Work/life balance is at the top of their list of deal makers and breakers. “No” just because the policy says so, doesn’t cut the mustard with Millennials and may run from a workplace with too many decision-making processes.
Now, this seems like a lot of work and a lot of concessions but the problem with ignoring Millennials lies with knowledge transfer. As Baby Boomers exit the workforce, they take with them the valuable knowledge gained through decades of experience and making mistakes. It is critical the succession planning starts now.
How to engage both generations in working together to stimulate succession planning?
Could part of the answer lie in development programs? Here’s the thing; Millennials love knowing what their next step is, even just after they have made their last one. Baby Boomers hold the key, they have the knowledge built up from years of loyal service. Is it entirely possible that we could design development programs that heavily incorporated Baby Boomers coaching and mentoring? There are a few hurdles which will have to be overcome to make this work. Firstly, Baby Boomers will have to let go of their knowledge learned through decades in the workforce and allow a new order to inherit the workplace. Secondly, the Millennials will have to want to listen.
So, let’s try it. Let’s still care about our Millennials. They are our future. We can’t ignore or deny it. But get creative and reap the reward of clever, effective and well-considered succession planning.