What do you see as you look around a typical office? Once you get past the coffee cups, computer monitors, and creatively designed (or not so creatively designed) desks, it’s about the people. Diversity in the workplace has increased substantially within the last 10-15 years. There is a wealth of information out there about diversity driving business growth, economic performance, and innovation. Differences in the ages of colleagues play an important role in their communication style, motivation, and goals.
Talking about multi-generations in the workforce seems to be a hot topic and for good reason. Now, more than ever, companies need high levels of engagement to increase their productivity and profitability. But there tends to be a disconnect between current executives and management teams, usually between the ages of 40-60, and other employees that are 35 and younger. This puts the division roughly along generational lines. Baby Boomers (born from 1946-1964) and Generation Xers (born from 1965-1980) currently hold more positions of authority than Millennials (born from 1981-2000).
Most organizations are solely focused on the future or what’s next for them as a whole. As a unit, leadership is one of the most influential factors for success. Are Millennials ready for leadership in your company today? There’s a good chance that by now you’ve heard some of the rhetoric about Millennials in the workplace. Some of the more common descriptions include being entitled, having a lack of engagement, poor communication skills, and being resourceful, entrepreneurial, and tech-savvy.
Most of us know on an intellectual level that a broad label doesn’t define an entire group. This post isn’t intended to be another place to generalize and stereotype Millennials or any other generation. What’s meaningful is encouraging a deeper understanding among generations which increases engagement and improves performance. According to the US Department of Labor, Millennials will make up the predominant group in the workforce this year. Companies must actively consider their leadership development strategy or be left behind. Let’s discuss three things you need to know about Millennials to enhance their leadership skills.
1. Embrace Technology
Regardless of your industry, technology is a key factor in your organization’s development and human capital management. Millennials embrace technology in all aspects of their lives, including their job search. According to Snagajob, 71% of Millennials have used a mobile device during their job search and 57% have searched for jobs using social media. In order to compete for top, young talent, your company must be effectively utilizing technology. Engagement initiatives and career planning are two more areas where Millennials enjoy using technology.
2. Constant Collaborators
Collaboration is of high importance to Millennials. It’s not enough to limit your communication to the occasional email. Receiving useable feedback and having face-to-face conversations helps Millennials grow and improve. In addition to loving technology, this generation likes the support of a group and a network. They like working in groups and believe that more is possible through collaboration, as opposed to operating in isolation.
3. Socially Conscious
Many Millennials grew up volunteering and being involved with social causes. Their individual values could play a large role in determining how long to stay with their employer. Millennials are often described as overly idealistic, but they tend to see it as being focused on the greater good and having a high sense of morality. This becomes an issue when they notice a stark contrast between their values and their employer’s values. Including social or environmental initiatives within your organization can help instill a sense of purpose with Millennials.
With this insight, how could your organization incorporate the values of Millennials and develop their leadership skills? Having a strategic plan for leadership development helps companies to strengthen their long-term vision, improve engagement, and increase their bottom line. Embracing millennial employees will help your company thrive.