Well, technically, they are already here.
According to the Pew Research Center, more than a third of the workforce is already made up of millennials.
Aren’t you glad you were sitting for that?
And according to the Digital Marketing Resource Center – 75% of the workforce will be Digital natives (Millenials and Post-Millenials) by the year 2025. In other words, people who grew up during the age of computers and the internet will be dominating the workforce by the year 2025.
By now, there shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Digital Natives are joining the workforce (or are going to be a massive part of it very soon). Where the surprise lies is that most companies just aren’t ready for them.
There are two primary concerns about these new kinds of workers (and why companies are ill-prepared):
- Millenials are a different type of worker (Who they are is different)
- Digital Natives work a different way (How they work is different)
Millenials are a different type of worker
I am going to make some broad generalizations here. As of 2017, 56 million Millenials (anyone born between the years 1981 to 1996) were working or looking for work. There has been a long-standing belief that Millenials are far more rewards-driven than their previous generations – that’s not exactly news as EVERY generation thinks the next generation is arrogant, self-centered, and lazy.
But, here are some key characteristics of Millenials pulled from the Millenial Compass Report:
- Millennials are ambitious.
- Millennials say they have a strong work ethic, but redefine the term to include a decent work-life balance.
- Loyalty to the organization is not a particularly strong value.
- Millenials see their boss as a friend.
- Millenials look to their leaders to be transparent, direct and inclusive.
Going even further, here’s Simon Sinek to help explain in more detail about the Millenial. If you’ve never seen this, it is worth your time.
Digital Natives work a different way
83% of Millenials admit to sleeping with their smartphones. This should tell you that how technology is perceived is entirely different than previous generations. When asked to rank a defining characteristic for their generation, Millenials ranked “Technology Use” first.
Given their fluency with technology, the way they work, shop, interact and communicate is entirely different than previous generations. And companies are feeling the pressure to keep up with this shift. Digital Natives use technology as a way of interacting, but companies are struggling to find adequate technological solutions to meet the needs of this new way of working. In fact, only 8% of Companies, according to a recent McKinsey survey, feel that they are ready for this Digital Disruption.
What are Companies Doing About it
It should be clear by now that Companies are trying to embrace these new kinds of workers. HR departments are rebranding themselves (from HR to People Operations or Department of People and Culture) with the intent to create an atmosphere that challenges, inspires, and connects with these new employees. While all other departments are pushing for DX (Digital Transformation) initiatives to prepare for an employee-base that doesn’t know fax machines, job jackets, or less than optimal User Experience.
With the new technologically-savvy employees growing, it presents an opportunity and the real main reason for all of these DX initiatives. For Companies to stay focused on their goals: (1) To increase revenues/profits or decrease costs and/or (2) To become more effective or more efficient – they need to leverage technology and the Digital Natives strengths to reduce time to market, understand a growing consumer base, and reduce steps and overall headcount.
References and Resources
Nielsen Data can be found here.
For additional suggestions on attracting and retaining Millenials – read this article from Forbes