Written by William G Handlos, P.E.
We have become accustomed to reading about the challenges in hiring, satisfying and integrating millennials into your organization. First, it needs to be said that all twentysomethings are not alike. Still, there are some common characteristics that seem to show up in most young employees… and from what I see it’s pretty good.
They are genuine.
They definitely are WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). Because their lives have been lived in a terrarium called the Internet, where everything they do is exposed to friends and family, there is seldom any pretense and rarely any shame about who they are, what they believe in, or what they think of us. We could do a lot worse in the workplace than to have a group of people who value honesty and decency in their dealings with customers.
They are full of optimism.
Youthful idealism is not new and I am happy to say that the latest generation exhibits this characteristic. Promotion, sales and service works best when the messenger is happy and upbeat.
They think outside the box.
We’ve heard plenty about the downside of the generation that was told (and believes) that they can accomplish anything. But, the upside to their buy-in of invisibility is that they’re not afraid to find alternative solutions and their eagerness to ascend the corporate ladder assures that they’re not shy in sharing those ideas. Previous generations often feel that it’s not their place to make suggestions. Not so with the Millennial.
They are well-educated.
Some say this generation is overeducated and overleveraged in debt for that education. Instead, might I suggest that they are flush with preparation and fiscally motivated to do something with their diploma? Dig a little deeper and you’ll find a strong liberal arts basis that offers them the tools to relate to people of different backgrounds and cultures with ease.
They are flexible.
It is easy to find managers who lament the need to be flexible as a prerequisite to holding the most recent entrants to the workforce. The other side of that coin is that the employee who demands flexibility also is flexible when it comes to staying on to see a project through late into the evening, working outside of their job description, and bending with the needs of their employer.
They are multitaskers.
It is plain to see why they can juggle so many tasks simultaneously. They have grown up in a media rich environment, with distractions abbondanza. They think nothing of the overwhelming communications that are a reality in the workplace today.
They are social.
Social media is more than just a buzzword to them. A generation that gripped the social media also grows up social. While there are some idiosyncrasies to their social skill set, they know how to build connections and are so accomplished in setting up networks that they don’t even realize that they are doing it.
They are team oriented.
They don’t just respond well to collaboration, they demand it. Managed properly, this generation can integrate with the generations that came before them to create a well-rounded team.
It is not possible to maintain a business team of any size without hiring millennials and why would you want to exclude a group so rife with talent? Moreover, the same generation is moving into positions of purchasing and decision-making. You might want to start thinking about how you go to market and what you can do to reach them.