Generation Y in the workplace
Millennials were typically people born between the 1980s and 1990s. They are the generation after baby boomers and are now entering the workplace. They will soon make up the largest demographic chunk in the workplace. This generation comprises of young people who are tech-savvy and highly energised. According to experts, by the year 2020, this generation will make up to 40% of the workplace. With enhanced technological knowledge and the kind of talent needed in the modern world, millennials in the workplace are bound to transform the world around them to fit their needs.
This generation wants things slightly different than older generations. According to a post on Forbes, 64% of millennials want to make the world a better place and with smart technology at their disposal, they are disrupting the world. so, just how are millennials transforming the workplace and the world at large?
Gone are the days of working in silos and literally having a one-man-show at the office. Millennials are the ultimate implementers of teamwork. Millennials in the workplace work collaboratively instead of competitively and would rather work with a boss who is part of the team and not a headmaster figure.
The open workplace has enhanced this collaborative culture as it allows for easy access to anyone at any time. Most workplaces no longer have private cubicles where you need prior appointments to see whoever is on the other side of the door. The open-office-plan is the playing ground for the millennial workforce comprising of people who want to work together.
8 to 5 is boring! This being the generation that has experienced great leaps in technology, a work schedule that places them in boxes just doesn’t work. Millennials can now work from anywhere and at any time. They want to work when they are most productive and not when they have to work.
Given the accessibility brought about by technology, millennials also prefer to work remotely. Their main goal is to hit their targets. They prefer to work where they are comfortable as long as they deliver on their duties and responsibilities. With the proliferation of new technologies, some jobs actually allow people to work from home or from remote locations.
While people from the older generation would rather have an 8-5 schedule and work strictly in the office, millennials prefer to work whenever they want to and from wherever they want to. This has created friction with those from previous generations who think that such work schedules are not productive. But, the world is going digital and those who work with millennials have to adjust accordingly in order to tap into the great talent brought on board by millennials.
Millennials are reverse-teaching
People from the previous generation came into the workplace and grew up at a time when young people were to be seen and not heard. Young people were to sit at the feet of older people and learn. Even in the workplace, the younger ones were not to talk or challenge authority as authority was all-knowing.
But, with millennials introducing things that were never there before, such as social media, which has become an integral part of marketing, the older generation are finding themselves as learners depending on younger people for lessons. And this is not only in the workplace. Even at home, smart technologies are changing how work is done and leisure enjoyed. Of course, this has rocked a boat that was fairly stable and some people from previous generations are not adjusting to this change of status very well. But the truth is, even the old can learn from the young and millennials are demonstrating this.
Millennials will not stay where they are not comfortable
Many HR managers complain that millennials cannot be trusted to stay on board long enough. They maintain that this generation is expensive as companies are always recruiting and training. Traditionally, a person would stay on one job for up to 10 years. Some people even stayed with one employer all their life. Take the example of Ben Chumo, the former Managing Director at Kenya Power. He was hired by the company as a HR officer and rose to the level of an MD, having worked at the parastatal all his career life.
On the extreme end are millennials who are averse to stagnation. Millennials want to be challenged and to be part of the change they want to see. As such, changing jobs after a couple of months is not too hard for them. This is also evident in the world where technologies driven by millennials change on a regular basis to accommodate new needs and demands.
Millennials want coaches and mentors as opposed to managers
Gone are the days of managers who lorded over people and who could not be challenged. Millennials are also known as the generation of instant gratification. This means that they do not want to have to wait for many years to grow. Therefore, they want leaders who mentor and coach them so that they can grow fast.
In today’s world, there are CEOs and top executives barely in their 30s or in their early 30s. Millennials no longer want to wait all their lives to grow. They want to learn the ropes as fast as possible and grow as fast. This has made the position of managers who are not interested in helping those below them grow almost obsolete. Managers must now mentor their juniors in order to keep them engaged.
Millennials want interactive learning as opposed to instructional learning
Social media and other tech-based products generally do not require any training to use. They are instructional and users can learn how to use them through exploration and experimentation. With the availability of the internet, people can now Google what they want to know and get all the information they want conveniently.
What this means is that millennials want interactive learning, where there is mutual sharing of information and where they are also free to go and learn from other sources with ease. This is carried to the workplace, where they want to learn by exploration, meaning that they want to be actively involved in projects.
Millennials communicate differently
In the past, communication was officially done through letters and later on, through emails. Everything had to follow protocol and communication was rigid and formal. Enter millennials in the workplace and communication took a totally different turn. From informal chats to communication via word of mouth, the message is that what matters most in communication is the passing of information.
As the world moves fast, there is no time for rigid communication and rigid protocols. The idea is to communicate fast and efficiently and with the help of technology. This is now a reality and it will only get faster; aided by live tweeting and live video-recording. Even off work, things like news reporting are done in real time, thanks to technology and new forms of communication.
Multitasking is part of life
Once upon a time, people used to focus on one task at a time. Then came Windows, which allowed people to have many tasks running at ago and from which millennials got their current experience. Well, millennials enjoy being engaged and part of this involves doing several things simultaneously
Apart from Windows, millennials also have access to many social media platforms, all of which offer further enlightenment and most millennials are on at least 2 social media pages. Multitasking is part of life for this generation, thanks to technology. Of course, the older generation complains that this might not be healthy but this is how the world now works.
When all’s said and done…
In a world that has been taken over by technology and with millennials leading this change, things are changing so fast, mostly at the click of a button. Well, generation Y is changing the workplace and the world at large by reverse-teaching, multitasking, changing jobs regularly, desiring mentors and coaches as opposed to managers, and introducing a new culture and working schedules. This is a brave, new world led by a generation that is not comfortable with good enough.