"Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort." - Theodore Roosevelt
In a time when a reality star has become the president of the United States of America, it's good to look back on former presidents and the wisdom they imparted on the world. Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the US and he was known for creating some great quotable lines. Among them was, "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." Okay, so they weren't all solid gold.
Trumps rise to power was made possible by his willingness to embrace technology in a new and innovative way. Fuelled by the fire of public and social media, he managed to make an indelible mark, albeit in a brash way. This embracement of technology combined with passion is somewhat mirrored in the way current generations see the world and their workplace. We're talking, of course, about the dreaded millennials!
A millennial is considered to be anyone born between the early 80's until the late 90's. This particular generation displays some very specific traits that can be both beneficial to employers but also present a number of difficulties.
"Millennials want what every generation that has come before them wants. The only difference is that Millennials are the first generation with the guts to ask for it and to expect it." - Simon Sinek.
Simon Sinek is an author, consultant, and speaker who was recently interviewed on Inside Quest with Tom Bilyeu and attempted to answer ‘The Millennial Question.' In the interview he highlighted the positive aspects of this very special generation going into today's workforce. He also goes into the reason as to why millennials are the way they are and that we should be more adaptive as business owners to meet their needs and get the best results possible (you can watch the full interview at the bottom of this post).
"When you start to really understand what generations are, what you'll end up with is the power to influence, communicate, engage, manage, sell to people in ways you never thought possible." - Curt Steinhorst, Consultant & Public Speaker
Not all employers feel this way, and many are struggling to come to terms with employees who are passionate, adaptive, but have far less patience than past generations. In some ways we might be generalizing here. It certainly doesn't apply to every single millennial but the emerging trends are too hard to ignore.
Here are the negative trends we're seeing when it comes to millennials:
- Entitlement - They feel they deserve to get whatever they want.
- Short Attention Span - And it's getting shorter.
- Instant Gratification - They want to feel good immediately.
In Senik's interview, he referenced speaking to a university grad who had been at a new company for 8 months but was unhappy that he hadn't made his mark or done anything earth-shattering. But he'd only been there for 8 months! That sense of entitlement and expectation is the very trait that many employers are fearing. All of a sudden, workplaces are being forced to deal with needy employers who don't feel they need to put in the requisite amount of effort to receive accolades or are willing to put in the work but don't see the results fast enough. But at the same time, they're passionate and strong-willed which are generally positive traits.
"The generational differences actually create the capacity for us all to be stronger when we allow them room to breathe . . . one thing we know for sure, we are all stronger when different generations are represented." - Curt Steinhorst, Consultant & Public Speaker
Why is this my problem?
"Why do I have to change the way I manage people just because this generation reacts differently to everything?" The answer is simple: Because we created them. Everything we do in our culture has bred the notion that everything is available faster and more conveniently. You can purchase something on Amazon and have it arrive within 2 days. TV shows are released in entire seasons to encourage binge watching. Every facet of our lives is now instagrammed, snapchatted, and broadcast over Facebook Live so everyone is up to date on everyone else. ALL. OF. THE. TIME. As a society, we created the millennial generation. No point in complaining about it now (not to say you can't complain, go ahead, it just won't do any good).
As an Employer, how do you deal with that kind of a mindset?
By adapting. By changing. Here are few things you can try:
- Make sure the workplace is a fun place to be.
- Create structure and set manageable and short-term completion goals.
- Provide a healthy work-life balance.
- Embrace the millennials knowledge of electronics and social media. It's a second nature skillset to them, use it!
- Keep them busy. Millennials can multitask better than any previous generation thanks to the barrage of content they naturally absorb on a daily basis.
- MOST IMPORTANT: Provide leadership in the form of guidance. Today's employee needs a sense of importance and the prospect of something more, Your guidance can make all the difference and can harness the powerful and passionate people you employ.
And yes, it's going to take your effort to get the most out of today's millennial employee. But like Teddy once said, "Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort."