Happiness at work
I will email you later, said no Millennial ever
5 lessons you can learn from the digital natives about your workplace
written by Elena Kostova
Heads down looking at the phones, fingers moving faster than Usain Bolt just before the finish line — those are the Millennials and I am not an exception from this group. Statistics say that by 2025 the bigger part of the workforce will consist of digital natives, and that includes not only Millennials but also Generation Z (born after 1995). We were born and raised in a completely digital world where everything is just a click away. We are not that keen on adapting to the old ways of working which seem too bureaucratic and hierarchical. No wonder they framed us all as job-hoppers 😀 But Millennials are not just a pain in the … well, the HR department. There are some valuable things which we can teach you too. Therefore, I created this list of 5 lessons you can learn from the Millennials and incorporate them into your company structure. After all, the world is changing and so are we, shouldn’t our workplace change too?
Create a culture of caring
Let’s start with the culture. Millennials want to save the world, so why not allow us to do it while we are at work? Engaging in social causes and taking a stand on global issues are things that will not only make you sleep better at night but will also make your employees love their job even more. Start small by organizing a blood drive or by encouraging your team to raise money in support of a local charity. And if you still need some more ideas — let this be your inspiration.
Encourage open communication
Growing up in a world with social media and Google Search, there are few things Millennials cannot find. Therefore, we value transparency and clear communication. Forget the top-down task pushing and invest time in regular meetings with your employees where the goals of the company are clearly communicated and every input is valued (stick to the 80/20 rule). Try using more open-ended questions — this will stimulate people to give their true opinion about the situation. Make sure everyone understands the bigger picture and how every team member contributes to its achievement.
Provide timely and honest feedback
It is a popular belief that Millennials are trophy-seekers. Therefore, I am particularly happy to announce that this year IBM finally broke this cliché — we are as interested in rewards as any other generation before us. But one thing I can say is that we value and appreciate good and honest feedback. So how can you translate this into your workplace? When assigning tasks to your team, make sure you plan some time for communication upon its completion in case some things need to be refined or to simply state that the job is done well. I know that giving feedback can be tricky — after all, you do not want to seem like the bad guy. Therefore, you can start by giving positive feedback whenever possible — show your team that they are valued. When the time comes to offer criticism, it’d be much better received.
I am sure that you have already stumbled upon one of those traveler blogs and secretly wished that your job was also to explore unique places and get paid for it. Well, Millennials can do both — being stuck long hours in the office but also traveling all over the world with just a one-way ticket. We believe in the work-life balance and chasing our dreams. So how can you make us a valuable part of your team? The answer is simple — flexibility. Consider using project-based contracts, which will help you attract and retain talent. Also, allow your employees to work remotely. After all, no study has shown that a person is less productive at their job while they sit on the beach and enjoy the sound of splashing waves.
Embrace technological innovations
Finally, there is one last thing that a workplace can adopt from the Millennials — our obsession with everything digital. Technology has allowed to minimize the clutter around us — automate routine tasks, minimize the paper-handling and bureaucracy. Most importantly — it provides us with almost instant contact with everyone all over the world. We do not write emails — we chat, and we don’t read news from newspapers nor write our agenda in big heavy notebooks — we use our phones. Try adopting more interactive and instant communication tools such as Discord or Rocket.Chat. Improve the effectiveness of your team by using project planning platforms such as Taskfabric or The Workspace which allow everyone to be on track and be kept informed any time, any place.
Extra: The most valuable advice I can give you is to simply listen to your employees, they know best what they need to be more productive and happy at their workplace.
So what are the lessons you could learn from your younger teammates? And if you are a Millennial yourself, what are the changes that you would like to see in your workplace? Hit us up in the comment section below.