We tend to poke a bit of fun at the Millennials or Gen Y, but one thing that can’t be denied is the impact they’re having on the way we do business. From their natural aptitude for tech-based solutions to their demand for better work-life balance, they’re definitely stirring things up and making us look at business differently! Here are just a few of the ways they’re changing the workplace, and how your company can benefit.
The remote work revolution
No-one likes being stuck in traffic for an hour before you even reach the office, and Millennials are making us question why we still cling so hard to the traditional working environment in the first place. Being able to work from home occasionally or even full time not only helps employees with that afore-mentioned work-life balance, but it can save companies a lot of money too. Having an off-site workforce means small businesses can share office space (and rent) with other companies -or rent smaller premises to begin with- as well as spend less on power and utilities.
The demand for better business transparency
Having grown up in the Digital Age where access to information is often perceived as a right, Millennials expect the places they work for to exhibit the same kind of openness. If the company is facing difficulties, they don’t want to be blindsided by change – they want to be part of the solution. If you want to improve communication between offices, departments or divisions, then putting a Millennial in charge is probably a good idea.
Ability over Qualifications
It’s a much-discussed fact that the Millennials are burdened by more student debt than any generation before them. This burden, along with an awareness that the fast pace of technological change makes many qualifications all but obsolete before they’re even completed, has left many Millennials with a sour taste in their mouths when it comes to formal tertiary education. Because they understand that formal college or university education is out of financial reach for many, they don’t place as much importance on it when it comes to hiring someone for a position. They would rather employ someone with talent and a willingness to learn, and allow them to grow within the company. They’re quick to embrace non-traditional forms of education such as online courses and training that can bring relevant skills to the workplace.
The Business Casual dress code
Just as they prefer the companies they buy from to be approachable, relatable and more ‘human’, Millennials aren’t big fans of strict, formal office dress codes! The expanding trend in corporate wear that’s professional and polished, but doesn’t completely overshadow personality and which allows room for creativity and comfort can largely be attributed to their generation.
Work with a purpose
Millennials have shown they’re willing to pay more for products that are locally sourced, more sustainably produced, or come from a company that supports their community or meaningful causes. This belief often carries over to the workplace – they don’t want to work just for money, but prefer to feel that they’re doing something good with their time too. Creating a corporate responsibility program or running projects that give back is a great way to attract and retain Millennial talent – and of course, it’s not bad for public image either!
Early adopters and tech innovation
Firm believers in the adage ‘work smarter, not harder’, Millennials are often at the forefront of technological change within the companies they work for. Whether it’s finding ways to streamline cumbersome processes, improve workflows or encourage better communication, Millennials are eager to embrace new technologies, and are great at helping the companies they work for do so too. This may in part be why they sometimes have a reputation for being a little lazy – they’re used to quick and efficient technology! As a result, they’re a valuable asset for any company looking for innovative ways to make tedious business processes run more smoothly.
Having come of age in the era of Twitter and Instagram, Millennials are often good at creating content that is engaging and entertaining. They have a knack for crafting website and social media content that appeals to various groups, and includes a little bit of humor and lightheartedness. They tend to make a useful addition to any marketing team.
Are we really that different?
A lot of the values most associated with Millennials – business that does good, freedom of expression, diversity and open-mindedness in the workplace, a good balance between work and home life – are the kind of goals we’ve been striving for across the generations for decades. And if we work together, hopefully we’ll see more and more of those goals become reality!