ways to drive Millennials away
illennials make up the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. — and this generation is significantly disrupting the way organizations have traditionally conducted business. They’re a dynamic group with new ideas on how they want to make a living and contribute to the world. They have a tendency Bill J. Bonnstetter for disliking bureaucracy and Human resources traditional 9-to-5 schedules. Because millennials seek work environments that mirror their own values, they have very strong opinions about the workplace — how it should be run and what their place should be in it. Companies need to embrace millennials — and the fresh mindset they bring to business — if they want to have a strong future. However, many companies are hanging onto wisdom of the past and may inadvertently be driving millennials away. Here are five mistakes your business could be making: 1. Insist they sit at their desk eight hours each day. Telecommuting and flextime are the new normal. Mandated clock punching is very passé. Millennials are hyper-connected and tech savvy, and tend to believe that as long as the work gets done, the amount of time spent in the office should not matter as much — usually because they are always working. 2. Expect them to be motivated by money. Finding happiness and fulfillment typically outranks salaries and bonuses as top priorities millennials want to get out of their work. Millennials want to contribute in a meaningful way and to feel valued in the workplace. Simply throwing money their way won’t cut it. 3. Tell them ideas don’t matter. Millennials want to feel valued in the workplace — and know their opinions matter. They were brought up in an environment where their parents asked for their input on everything from meal choices to personal finances. Instead of performing mundane tasks, millennials lean toward learning about strategic planning that helps to move the organization forward. 4. Insist that titles matter. Studies have indicated millennials aren’t overly concerned about hierarchy (titles and positions) within the traditional pyramid structure. They believe everyone’s input matters and that the best ideas win, regardless of who said it or their seniority at the company. 5. Hold feedback until an annual review. It’s not that millennials don’t want to be held accountable for their workplace performance. Rather, they want these conversations to happen on a more regular and informal basis. We’re in an instant gratification society, and the more feedback millennials receive for on-the-job performance, the more dependable and adaptable they can become. 18
AB | September - October 2015
By 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce will be made up of millennials. This generation is already reshaping today’s consumer spending habits, and it will no doubt create a lasting impact in the workplace. Work cultures and leaders who do not embrace the positives this generation brings will be sure to drive the future of work far from their doors. Bill J. Bonnstetter is chairman and founder of Scottsdalebased TTI Success Insights, which develops and distributes assessments that are used to help hire, retain and develop individuals in businesses and organizations throughout the world.