Some estimates say that it has finally happened. There are no more millennials in the workplace than baby boomers or any other generation. It is the natural order of things, but with more members of a newer generation in the workplace, there have been changes, and those changes come to the fore not when a majority of an employee base is younger, but when a member of that generation takes over leadership. For those businesses and industries that have yet to see a millennial take the helm, there are some things that can be expected.
Forbes recently published a study in which 91% of millennials listed business or work success as a big priority in their lives compared to 71% of baby boomers. Yet, millennials are not as likely to spend as much time at work as previous generations. Millennials are certainly not as likely to spend 14 hours at work so they can brag about their dedication to their friends and family. What millennials are likely to do is have more focus and attempt to get more done when they are working on “work” items.
Some older generations were skeptical of the time millennials wanted to spend away from work, but that work and life balance seems to have paid off for both work and an employee’s personal life. As millennials take the tops spots in businesses, they are likely to offer many of those same opportunities to those who work for them.
Perhaps it is because this newer generation has grown up with technology, but millennials are more likely to use technology to make their lives easier and that includes their work life, and obtaining a work and personal life balance. Millennials are more willing to trust that technology will allow them to work efficiently from home. Technology allows them to work at home in ways that were not possible 20 years ago, and some technology was not even available as a common tool five years ago.
A Different Skill-Based Focus
A study published by the online magazine, CIO (Chief Information Officer) showed that millennials put more emphasis on softer skills when they put their leadership to work. Nearly 60% of participants believed the most important skill they could use as a leader was communication, while 55% thought that relationship building was the most important thing for leaders. Millennials also found it important to have continuing education opportunities, and to have a mentor to help them learn more about leadership and about their industry.
More Shared Leadership from Millennials
In the same survey referenced by CIO, millennial leaders hope to use a more democratic and shared decision making model than previous leadership generations have used. The goal is to be transformational leaders who can make positive changes in employees, and to inspire those who work for them to achieve all they can.
Another change that millennials who are in leadership positions are implementing, or want to implement include using teams more. These are people who are used to sharing many things about their lives, and they are used to commenting and giving input to other people who are sharing things about their lives. Digital communication has taught millennials how to collaborate quickly and probably more efficiently than previous generations.
Working as a group is not the only thing that millennial leaders think about when they think of being social. They also put a priority on offering their time, expertise, and if necessary finances to do good for the greater society as a whole. Millennials have, more than many other generations, shown a willingness to try to improve the lot of those less well off, and these younger leaders and future leaders hope to use their position power to ensure that they can help others.
For many people, whether they are leaders in an organization or not, the idea of an evaluation sends shudders through their body. Millennials, as a whole, view evaluations as a chance to find out what they need to work on and directions they need to move to improve their job. This attitude is what evaluations were supposed to be like for a least the last generation or two, but it seems that millennials are finally a generation willing to accept evaluations for what they were theoretically intended to be—tools of improvement, not strictly hiring and firing tools.
Things for Non-Millennials to Remember
There are generational differences. The greatest generation worked differently than baby boomers. Gen Xers act different than millennials. Each subsequent generation has been raised with different worries and concerns than other generation, with different talents than other generations, and all of these differences make each generations leaders different from other generations.
It is these differences that cause each generation to, generally speaking, improve how things are done compared to previous generations. As millennials move from supporting roles to mid-management, then to higher management, the quicker we are to embrace their expectations and hopefully improve the ways we do business.