Digital technology has created a workplace – and a workplace culture – that would be almost unrecognisable to anyone who worked in an office in the 1960s and 1970s. But how does technology shape the work attitudes of those who have grown up with it – the millennials generation?
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Who are the millennials?
Definitions vary, but millennials – or generation Y as they're also known – are generally considered to be born between 1980 and 1995. They're the generation who have grown up with communication platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. And according to KPMG, they now make up 35% of the UK workforce.
And how do you keep them happy?
This generation has different attitudes and expectations to the baby boomers and gen X-ers who preceded them – and who are often now their managers.
Innovation management expert, Dr Kateryna Bondar, describes them as bringing a desire for job flexibility, challenging tasks and participation in objectives to the workplace. That's new ways of working and new attitudes that can present challenges for managers.
So, given that gen Y is the future of work, how can you meet the challenges and keep millennials in the workplace happy?
Play to their strengths
This generation understands social media and is at ease using multiple communication channels. They expect to enjoy the culture of openness and approachableness that these tools enable while they're at work.
This is one of the reasons that Gen Y-ers are such a natural fit for collaboration tools like Workplace. Tools that give them the always-on communication that's an integral part of their lives in a way that's already familiar to them.
The right tools can also help enable the culture of honesty and trust that's so valuable to them. And by tapping into your millennials' social media skills, you'll be able to strengthen your own online community.
Gen Y-ers like tasks that enable them to grow and move up the career ladder. So, work with them to create progression plans building on their skills set and knowledge. This will give people greater satisfaction in their personal growth – and it will give your organisation an edge, as your young team continues to bring new skills into play.
The fluidity of the job market is reflected in millennials' attitude to the workplace itself. They're likely to want to choose where they do their work, and that doesn't necessarily mean the office.
Technology can give them the freedom they need and, with the right collaboration tools in place, you can make sure that people can communicate quickly and easily wherever they are.
Create a culture they buy into long-term
This is the generation that doesn't have or expect long-term job security. 41% of millennials say they expect to stay in a job for less than two years, compared with 17% of gen X-ers. However, they'll take advantage of this by seizing opportunities elsewhere. This means that it's important to create a culture that they can be a part of and grow within.
Rewarding creativity, contributions and performance will enhance the relationship with these team players.
And, when they do leave, make sure that you keep in touch. Make them a key part of your alumni network. Invite them back to important company events. That way, the networking can continue – and everyone is happy.
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