Managing Millenials in the current working settings
The aging of the workforce faced in the United States, and the concurrent advent of the Millenials in the workplaces represent a significant demographic and sociological occurrence that has the capacity of having dominant implications to the organizations (Armour, 2005). In the wake of massive economic upheaval in the US as well as the large-scale cutbacks happening in the workforces, it creates urgency for the organizational leaders to find a way to balance the four generations that are currently in play in the work settings (Armour, 2005). Managers continue to grapple with generational differences at the workforces and problems may arise from the differing mindsets and communication styles adopted by the individuals from different eras. The technological changes may further aggravate the friction and work patterns that continue to mix workers of all generations in a single working environment (Chaudhuri, & Ghosh, 2012).
There are four generations in the workplace today. The oldest generation is the Silents and referred to like the veterans who are considered to be among the most loyal employees with high dedication but are very much aversive to risks (Armour, 2005). The participation rates of this cohort in the future of the workplaces are bound to be lower since the majority of them are at their retirement ages (Deal, 2007).
The Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 perceived as being more competitive and think that all workers ought to pay their dues. Their participation rates in the workplaces are bound to remain high and are the majority in the workforce (Chaudhuri, & Ghosh, 2012). Moreover, despite the fact that majority of them hit the retirement age in 2011, they were retained by most industry players following the Great economic recession and the slow recovery of the economy that followed (Stephens College, 2007). Having been kept for another ten years with some entities setting the retirement age at 65, it means that the cohort remains dominant at the workforces till 2020 and beyond (Martin, 2005). Retaining of the Baby Boomers came as a result of the fear and apprehension by most employers on the impact it would have on the workplaces if they retire in large numbers. Organizations faced, massive brain drain since the boomers are characterized by the fact that that they are vast in technical skills, have sufficient historical knowledge, and exude honed industry-specific abilities (Chaudhuri, & Ghosh, 2012).
The Gen Xers, on the other hand, are born between 1965 and 1977 and are bound to be more skeptical and independent-minded (Wieck et. al., 2002). They are the least number of the workplaces and with the increase in the Millenials coupled with the retaining of the Boomers; their effect may not be felt in the future. It is because, by the time the boomers leave the workplaces, the Millenials will have acquired the skills and knowledge to compete with the Xers (Deal, 2007). However, they continue to hold the majority of the leadership positions in the companies.
The Gen Ys also known as the Millennials are those born in 1978 and later and are perceived to be more into feedback, teamwork and are keen on embracing technology. They are the second largest cohort in the workforces and therefore are expected to be actively participating in the future of the workplaces (Dominguez, 2003). In fact, experts anticipate that the Millenials may overtake the Boomers at the workplaces shortly due to their mass increase in numbers at the workstations beginning working at a very young age.
There is a need for the different generations at the workplaces to work together at and also peacefully coexist since all the generations have a role to play at the workplaces (Karp et. al., 2002). Moreover, they all have some attributes and unique attitudes and skills to bring to the table, and it is the ability of the different generations to work together in harmony that will determine the future of most workplaces. Moreover, working in a multigenerational work environment, decisions made are made from many perspectives and reflect diverse needs and expertise thus fostering innovation. Acknowledging and incorporating the values and ideas as well as perceptions of every generation can also have a positive impact on the climate as well as the overall effectiveness of the workplace (Gordon & Steele, 2005).
Ways in which the Millennials are different from other generations in the workforce.
The Millenials are a generation born at a time when technology has been at its peak with advancements coming into play every other day (Rath, 1999). As a result, they have been characterized by their reliance and strong believe in the use of technology as the primary tool even while at the workplaces. They are accused of overly relying on technology by other generations (Deal, 2007). Their excesses in the use of computers and dramatic technological innovation have led to an increased comfort in technology than any other tools that may be present in the workplaces.
The Millenials were also born at a time marred by increased terrorism, drug trafficking and use among other societal problems. It is these problems that led to greater international and regional corporations (Gordon & Steele, 2005). As a result, this has shaped the way the Millenials think and act even at the workplaces. They believe more in collaborations and teamwork even as they work. They want to be part of teams as they deliver their work and are more productive in collaboration as compared to the other cohorts (Dominguez, 2003). Moreover, they have been a cohort that has been open to more globalization and collaborative working than any other generations. As a result, there has been an increased level of engagement and also the globalization of ideas with the Millenials fostering increased inter-border, interracial and even interregional working relations. They have been brought together in the face of adversity and are bound to have lesser discrimination to their fellow workmates based on color, creed or nationality instead are focused on the abilities and competencies of others before forming a perception regarding the individuals (Dominguez, 2003).
The Millenials are accused of having a bad work ethics with other generations accusing them of being lazy. It is because; they do not spend as many hours at the workplaces as the boomers. There is a reduction in the rate at which individuals feel that their performance at work define them as people with more Millenials being more flexible in their thinking as well as in their workplaces (Glass, 2007).
The Millenials are capable of moving from one workplace to another without transition fears or difficulties a factor that has made the other generations further feel that they lack loyalty and commitment at their work (Mitchell, 2002). However, in an era of internet and increased parental involvement with the children, the Millenials have grown up to be independent thinkers, with a high level of risk taking and versatility. They are highly resourceful and innovative in most cases but at the same time are more volatile to deal with since they believe that their personal growth and satisfaction matters more than any other thing. They also want to work in settings that they can see direct results and impact of their role or jobs (Dominguez, 2003). Millenials want to be more involved and free even with their management and freedom to experiment and come up with ideas. If such channels or opportunities are lacking in a working environment then they felt dissatisfied and demotivated as compared to the other generations such as the Boomers and the Generation Xers that tend to fit in the structures and bureaucratic systems already in place at the workplace (Smola, & Sutton, 2002).
Advantages and limitation of the Millenials
Benefits of the Millenials
The majority of the individuals in this generation attach a high value for money and therefore are bound to be greater savers than any other generations (Smola, & Sutton, 2002). It is contrary, to the assumption and the perception that they are rampant spenders. The mentality of saving and also wise investment is harbored on the hard economic times witnessed in the recent past.
The Millenials are the most technological savvy of all the generations. They were born at a time when technology was at its peak and had led to excellent accommodation and use of technology at all spheres of their lives (Mitchell, 2002). As a result, it has resulted in the revolutionization of the workplace in that they have brought in technologies that have made work easier, efficient and even profitable for their employers as well as the other working colleagues (Gordon & Steele, 2005).
The Millenials are also more involved and independent in their thinking with the assertion that their opinions and ideas ought to be heard (Rath, 1999). With the ability and the capacity to bring out ideas and input at their workplaces, the Millenials have increased the innovation and productivity of workplaces (Karp et. al., 2002). They are actively involved in the processes of problem solving and decision-making at their workplaces which make their management easier and also makes the workplaces even more efficient instead of having a team that just takes in what they are instructed to do without getting involved in the processes themselves (Tang & Tzeng, 1992).
They are also more engaged in global, regional and international activities meaning that they have led to the revolutionization of working cultures as well as impacted positively on the workplaces. The ability of the Millenials to engage and get involved in international affairs and also accommodate and work together in harmony with individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds has made the workplaces a global village (Martin & Tulgan, 2002). The blending of the diversities in all aspects is what has made the majority of the workplaces even more competitive, productive and unique. Moreover, their involvement and engagement in global affairs have led to the emergence of innovations and brilliant ideas that have revolutionized and also set some businesses apart in service provision and other quotas. Their involvement in the affairs that may affect the dynamics of companies and businesses such as politics and policy making has also led to the lobbying for good governance and protected the integrity and capacity of the workplaces (Glass, 2007).
Limitations of the Millenials
The Millenials may have unrealistic confidence ad expectations while entering the working environment (Salkowitz, 2008). The unrealism regarding what they know and can do can make it difficult for the employers and other generations to deal with them and even train them to new roles. In an era that information is readily available on the internet and other sources, the Millenials have a feeling of invincibility or a kind of a know it all attitude that may make it tough to train them and retain at workplaces (Howe& Strauss 2000). They may also have a false sense of importance and expectations regarding their job roles, tasks and also responsibility and as a result, turnover may be higher. The turnover of the Millenials is also high because, of the firm sense of independence and also open-mindedness as well as versatility and therefore, can shift from one working environment to another in the promise of better-working conditions or pay (Marston, 2007).
Millenials also indicate lower levels of commitment and loyalty to their workplaces in that they are open to any changes in a career as long as they promise better conditions (Martin & Tulgan, 2002). They are very vibrant and brave generation and therefore, containing them at a workplace is difficult. As a result, the managers and employers feel that it's hard to have them train them only to have a shift in focus into other areas of working. Managers and other employees feel that it may be difficult to cope and work with Millenials (Geck, 2006).
Criticisms towards Millenials by older employees and society
While it may be common to have differing generation criticize one another. As a result, other disparities, the Millenials have been highly criticized by the older generations (Rath, 1999). The Millenials are more often referred to as “trophy kids” with other generations and also employers viewing the Millenials as being more entitled and having higher maintenance at work. The older generations point to the rate at which the young people have become self-absorbed more than any other generation in the workforce (Geck, 2006). The Millenials also a high value for their social media importance and also the perception of other generations as being behind the technology has further resulted in criticism and increased the divide between the Millenials and the older generations (Karp et. al., 2002). As a consequence of the perceptions, it may lead to a divide in the workplaces with employers having lower respect and paying lesser attention to the ideas and innovations of the Millenials as they are mostly perceived to be tricky or ill-informed. The older generations as well feeling entitled and threatened in some cases by the Millenials may also look down upon them leading to increased rift at the workplace which reflects poor working relations (Glass, 2007).
The older generation also perceives the Millenials as being concerned more with personal gratification and not attaching importance to their jobs. As a result, they criticize the young people of lacking commitment and loyalty to their workplaces as well as their employers (Howe & Strauss, 2000). They are seen as attaching more importance to personal image and achievements and thus demeaning the accomplishments at the workplaces if they do not result in their direct benefits such as promotions.
The Baby Boomers and the Generation Xers have also argued that the Millenials are too rush and lack patience and do not want to follow the due processes at the workplaces (Salkowitz, 2008). It may be attached to the fact that the Millenials want to move fast up the chain instead of following the contemporary system of experience and merit that takes time (Geck, 2006). The Millenials feeling of entitlement and a false sense of importance is what the older generations have termed as being unrealistic and causing friction at the workplaces. Moreover, the vibrancy and lack of regard to protocol ion most cases as the other generations would want to argue also led to the Millenials taking roles and positions set for the other generations who feel entitled to the jobs due to their experience and expertise in the field (Marston, 2007).
The older generations have also referred to the Millenials as being lazy and lacking commitment at the workplaces (Salkowitz, 2008). It is because, unlike the other generations that spend an enormous amount of time at their workplaces showing personal initiative at taking extra personal time at executing their duties even at no pay, the Millenials are fast to work within the hours and leave immediately (Martin, 2005). The other generations believe that working hard entails investing more hours at the workplace and it is this that has made them perceive the Millenials having no sense of commitment and self-sacrifice for the greater good of the workstation and workforce (Howe& Strauss 2000). It is this that has further led to the branding of the Millenials as being poor team players and as being self-centered.
How to motivate Millenials at the workplaces to both contribute and remain loyal
• Ensure they are aware of the shared vision, goals and objectives and how they can fit in the system. The Millenials are more interested in looking for and understanding the meaning of the roles they are tasked with and also making sense of the direct impact that their role has (Martin & Tulgan, 2002). Helping them understand what role helps them feel the bigger picture and increase their sense of importance and viability in the workforce.
• Incorporate community services in the work schedule. A Pew Research Center in 2010 indicated that over 90% of Millenials felt that allowing them to use the company resources to reach out increases their sense of social consciousness (Howe& Strauss 2000). The Millenials are more socially conscious than any other generation and therefore there is a need to enhance that to make the feel part of the team. Workplaces could organize for humanitarian courses and other community activities such as making donations to charities.
• Developing steps and titles indicating growth. More than many other generations, the Millenials attach a high level of importance to growth at their workplaces. They want to see advancement and therefore, there is the need to have a working structure that allows for gradual growth and equitable growth to ensure that they are kept engaged and feel that there is career progression (Rath, 1999). The progressive steps also increase the experience and training that set the stage for bigger responsibilities in the future.
• Have proper channels for giving regular feedback. The millennial value feedback and celebrating the small victories every day and therefore, there is the need for the workplaces to have a place for such feedback that acts as a potent source of motivation to the individuals.
• Allow for structures that are open to flexibility and also open to ideas. The Millenials are highly technological savvy and technology changes rapidly (Zemke et. al., 1999). In an attempt to keep up with the technology, the Millenials tend to be full of ideas that could be of great significance to the workplaces and also want to feel that such changes are welcome at their workplaces (Howe & Strauss, 2000). Therefore creating such openings is crucial at motivating the individuals.
• Offer regular educational and professional development. More Millenials especially the fresh graduate from the universities and colleges identify opportunities for professional development and educational advancements being the top priorities as they seek for employments (Martin, 2005). Therefore, there is importance to offer the young people education and expertise through training and studying scholarships so as to keep them motivated and loyal to the workplace.
• Allow for them to be involved and actively engaged in the workplace dynamism and decision-making processes. The Millenials grew up at a time where parents are highly involved and allow them to voice their views and are also actively involved in making decisions right from their home backgrounds (Martin, 2005). As a result, they want to feel like part of the decision making in the workplaces especially on issues that directly affect them.
• Allowing the Millenials to be in the spotlight. In the era of inflated personal importance and high confidence, the Millenials want to feel a sense of achievement and outstanding (Rath, 1999). There is the need to offer the Millenials roles that enhance their self-image and make them feel important such as presenting in public, organizing major events and also doing media presences.
• Provide opportunities for partnerships with a peer of multicultural backgrounds. Among the Millenials, the world is a global village, and it is highly motivating for them as they are working in teams that have diversity in composition. They are actively involved in world affairs and want to make connections across the board which is very satisfying and motivating (Rath, 1999).
How to connect with workers of various generations?
One fundamental attempt as I enter the new workplace is to try as much as possible to understand the different generations present at the workplaces. With such understanding, it is easy to anticipate and also accommodate the generational differences in attitudes, values and also believes (Lancaster & Stillman, 2003). In an attempt to fit in as well, I will ensure that I get acquainted with the work culture and find a balance between the workplace culture and my personal values, perceptions and believe and not try to change everyone to fit my perceptions and thinking. I will also ensure that I develop skills such as active listening, ensure that I understand my job roles and responsibilities to avoid clashes or to overstep on my mandate and functions in the workplace (Smola, & Sutton, 2002).
How to balance home and work life.
To balance my home and work lives, I would ensure that I do not carry any baggage related to specific areas to other sectors (Strauss & Howe, 1991). For example, I would ensure that my problems at home do not interfere with my productivity and or motivation at work but rather try to deal with such issues at home as they arise. I would also ensure that I work efficiently and actively during my working hours to make sure that I would not have to carry my work home (Howe & Strauss, 2000). Moreover, I would ensure that I define my priorities and organize my time to make sure that one does not eat the other to ensure stability and success in both spheres. I would also ensure that my employer understands the importance that I hold my family with to make sure that they do not offer and allocate roles that would interfere with my home life (Sessa et. al., 2007).
Top five things that are important to a job. Describe possible ways to increase your potential for securing them.
• Ability to work in a multigenerational workplace. Employers are increasingly looking for individuals that can fit within the workplace because there are four generations in the workplaces (Huntley, 2001). They want to see the high level of intergeneration accommodation. To increase my ability to fit in a generationally diverse working environment, I would ensure that I attend workshops and training on cross-generational engagement and tolerance in the workplace. I would also spend some time to study and understand the generation mix and composition of the workplace that I target to ensure that I understand and accept the realities (Lancaster & Stillman, 2003).
• Verbal communication skills. It is critical for them to express oneself and also to explain and pass information in a coherent and understandable manner (Strauss & Howe, 1991). One of the primary ways to ensure that I get the right communication skills is to make sure that I practice and expose myself to public speaking forums and also with my friends (Raines, 2003). It would be counterproductive to have skills and technical knowhow but lack the capacity and the ability to sell oneself to the employers.
• Teamwork. It is a virtue that most employers look for in every employment opportunity (Smola, & Sutton, 2002). It is because, in a workplace, there are other employees and the success of an organization is determined by the ability of the team players to work together (Lancaster & Stillman, 2003). Therefore, I would ensure that I demonstrate my ability to be a team player and leader through engaging in teamwork based activities. I would also participate in training and also events such as team building events that help one build their ability to fit in and create a good rapport with others to ultimately fit in a team.
• Ability to negotiate and influence others. It is a major skill and ability in a work set-up, I would ensure that I engage in activities such as debates and arguments to make sure that I build my negotiation skills. I would also participate in activities that make my ability to persuade and influence others (Marston, 2007).
• Self-awareness and confidence. I would ensure that I profess and present a strong, positive image and professional image that inspires confidence as well as commands respect (Smola, & Sutton, 2002).
Opportunities and challenges faced as you enter the workforce. Please indicate how they relate to those faced by older generations
• There is an opportunity for personal and [professional growth within the organization and beyond. It is still a chance that the older generations had as they entered the workforce and could be the motivating factors even as I enter the workforce (Raines, 2003).
• It also presents an opportunity to demonstrate and also exercise the professional and personal skills that I profess. The older generations are mostly also motivated by the sense of self-esteem and belonging exuded from participating at work and also their achievements at the workplace (Salkowitz, 2008).
• It is also an opportunity to earn a pay that will be the enabling opportunity to meet the social, economic and esteem needs that one may hold. It is still a significant opportunity that the older generations face and still motivates them to be loyal to the workplace (Strauss & Howe, 1991).
Challenges at the workplace
• Working in an intergenerational workforce presents a challenge due to the varying attitudes, perceptions and belief systems (Sessa et. al., 2007). The way one generation does things may be different from the other thus may be difficult to some people to blend into the workplace. It is still the shortcoming faced by the older generations who have to get into terms with the younger generations that may have differing views and way of doing things and therefore accepting them may be a challenge (Howe & Strauss, 2000).
• Time management. Balancing work, home, and social life may be tough at the beginning of the working period. It is more so difficult for individuals who are more engaged in social activities especially being a Millenials with so much engagement with family and friends (Sessa et. al., 2007). It is a problem that may have been perceived differently during the Baby Boomers time since they are engaged at work that other things such as family and social lives were not of a big priority as is the case today (Raines, 2003).Lack of open communication channels. In as much as workplaces are facing changes, they are dominated by the older generations especially the Baby Boomers that do not question authority or do not like being questioned (Raines, 2003). It may be difficult to fit into a work set up where we are not allowed to voice our grievances, ideas and objections (Huntley, 2001).