In today’s workforce, there are approximately 40 million Millennials (population born between 1980 and 2000). This generation works smart and plays hard. They strive to achieve success in the workplace and spend time volunteering in the community. Millennials’ personal and work lives are more intertwined than previous generations and it is this confluence of interest that is redefining the workplace.
I imagine it would be hard for these individuals to fathom being a respected and highly successful executive who is written up for wearing open-toed dress sandals to the office. Or even worse – as published by Bloomberg BusinessWeek – having a boss schedule a client meeting on the day of an employee’s wedding. His firm had a reputation for “working hard” and he fully expected the individual to be there because the meeting was taking place earlier in the day so she could still make her wedding.
Ouch! Call me silly, but my husband, Jeff, along with my entire family would have disowned me if I chose to attend a client meeting rather than participate in pre-wedding festivities.
Personally, my experience with Millennials has been life-changing, inspiring and yes, sometimes challenging. My colleagues, friends, and various relatives who comprise this generation continually impress me with their strong viewpoints on global issues, politics and business. They have helped me think differently, become less rigidly structured and have more fun.
I am awed by some Millennials and their positions that are distinctly different from older generations. For instance, Edelman Digital research revealed 45 percent of Millennials highly associate their lives with simplicity, compared to 51 percent of Gen X and 58 percent of Boomers. In 2011, Iconoculture, a global research and marketing firm, stated 40 percent of Millennials think that blogging about workplace issues is acceptable as compared to 28 percent of Boomers. A year earlier, a Pew Study showed 21 percent of Millennials said helping people in need is one of the most important things in life.Also, according to Pew, the Millennials are the first generation in human history who regard behaviors like tweeting and texting, along with websites like Facebook, YouTube, Google and Wikipedia, not as astonishing innovations of the digital era, but as everyday parts of their social lives and their search for understanding.
Based upon these statistics, a picture emerges of a generation who will dramatically impact the workforce. This is a generation who will approach their jobs with a higher level of informality, while focusing on core value and the expectation of making a difference. Technology is cornerstone to this group both as a support tool for the business as well as the culture within the business.
To quote the lyrics from the Boomer poet-laureate, Bob Dylan, “The Times They are a-Changin.”
Millennials with their entrepreneurial drive, passionate ideas and social networks are forever changing how we support customers, grow our businesses and strengthen our communities.