I read an interesting article in the Globe and Mail today about keeping those fickle Millenial’s (people born between 1980 and 1995) happy in the workplace. Apparently it takes more than a paycheque.
And I realized that indeed, I am a millenial. Born in 1983, I like to think that I escaped some of the more negative characteristics of this generation, attributions like “narcissistic and lazy”, or “coddled and delusional”. What does resonate are a few of the components of the previously mentioned article, namely;
Flexibility. Undoubtedly the most precious thing that I look for in a work environment, the ability to flex my time to meet a variety of life demands (especially with a young son), is invaluable. When I notice my time becoming more rigid at work, my productivity seems to simultaneously decrease. Considering that flexibility and, to some degree, autonomy have such benefits for today’s knowledge workers it continues to surprise me that more companies and organizations (particularly non-profits) don’t embrace as much flexibility as possible. It costs nothing and increases employee engagement, productivity and satisfaction.
Community Support. This idea struck me as an odd label to slap on the millennial generation. The article states that we “place a high priority on workplace culture and want an environment that emphasizes teamwork, the ability to provide input on assignments, and want and need the support of their supervisors. Emphasis should be on appreciation and support from supervisors and providing employees with honest, real-time feedback that is face to face.” Who the hell wants to work in an environment that doesn’t foster those things?
Technology is tops. Guilty as charged. I shudder every time I have to log into our Microsoft Exchange server and go hunting for an archived file in some obscure, rarely used folder. 15 minutes (and a few choice words) later and I’m generally knocking on someone’s door to politely inform them that it’s actually 2014. For me, the attachment to keeping up with technological gains is rooted in a desire to be more efficient and productive from anywhere, and thus be able to be flexible.
What do you think? Are these millennial characteristics or a broader trend across the generations in the workplace?