5 Tips to Smoothly Integrate Millennials into the Workplace
Nearly half of all employees in the American workplace will be Millenials. Millennials are the cohort born after 1997. By now, the oldest of them is 22 years old.
The group of young adults promises to reshape the workplace as dramatically as Baby Boomers did in the early 1970s.
Diversity managers who may already feel overwhelmed while putting together the puzzle of inclusion that other under-represented groups have a new kind of reckoning with Millennials.
Organizations will have to apply patience and creativity in meeting the challenges and demands of Millenials.
Some suggestions will help ease tensions that will inevitably surface as the generations interface -- or face off.
Jason DeMeyers, a Millennial entrepreneur, writes in Entrepreneur Magazine that Millennials do tend to make demands.
Some of the requirements might include the hours they prefer to work, the flexibility to do personal activities during work hours, and where they work.
Depending on the kind of work they were hired to do, organizations would do well to relax regulations somewhat.
Managers may find to their surprise that Millennials are seeking value in the work they do.
Traditionally, bosses and team leads assign duties, and staff unquestioningly gets on with discharging the work.
Instead, Millenials have little patience for busy-work.
John Rampton writes in Inc. Magazine that when Millennial workers disagree with a job assignment, they may not see where their contribution fits into the business’s objectives.
It may help to couch those tasks in the context of where the organization is going and why.
A bit of background on the job will offer them a sense of mission and connection to outcomes more significant than they would be able to create for themselves.
Easy-going Work Environments
Moreover, whether it is because of age or temperament, Millenials prefer their work environments to be enjoyable, if not downright fun.
Rampton suggests having pizza parties when teams meet goals.
Transfer a bit of coworking-space culture into traditional organizations by allowing staff to bring their dogs to the office on arranged days.
Be sure, though, to promote ground rules about what kind of pets the business permits.
Also, make it clear how the organization expects them and their owners to behave.
Bridging the Digital Divide
Millennials have no experience with a pre-Internet, pre-smartphone, pre-app-for-everything world.
The common term for this lack of pre-digital context is “digital native.”
Digital natives are comfortable using their digital devices.
Some might even say Millennials are addicted to their computers.
The up-side of the ease with which Millennials negotiate Internet devices is that they require little training or convincing to accomplish goals with the use of computers.
The downside is that they need coaching and practice to communicate and deal face-to-face with others verbally.
During the on-boarding process, provide Millennials with a professional communications orientation.
Also, work with managers throughout the organization to make explicit when and when not to bring digital devices into meetings.
Digital technology has provided a level of flexible working undreamed of a generation ago.
Millennials expect managers to know already that the productivity levels of remote workers are a high -- if not higher -- than that of co-located staff.
They know they can work in a local cafe just as well as if they were at a desk.
Diversity managers need to make that expectation clear to team leads and department managers.
Senior employees need to set out guidelines when they bring Millennial workers onboard as to when it is appropriate to work offsite.
Managers also need to be clear with junior staff about communications protocols, so bosses feel connected to workers and workers feel a part of the organization.
Diversity managers can reduce a great deal of the potential generational strain bringing young workers into the fold through the early orientation of new employees.
Assumptions that more senior members of staff may have had when they first began their careers may no longer apply to Millennials.
The ability to arrange work expertly, work within a team setting, and communicate clearly and directly face-to-face is no longer guaranteed skills with fresh professionals.
It’s a new world of work and Millennials are not about to let you forget it.