The youth of today is not like it used to be. If you have recently been recruiting juniors, you probably know what I'm talking about. During a job interview, the generation gap can sometimes lead to tensions. Millennials immediately expect a high salary, a good work life balance, ethical and ecological values within the company, but preferably also a company car. And as soon as possible, because we don't have patience. By the way: Yes, I also belong to this generation. Lazy, spoiled, stubborn, unrealistic... These are just a few of the accusations that millennials often get to hear. How are they really so different?
Well, life isn't as difficult today as it used to be. People who are looking for a new job these days, and especially students who are now leaving school, have a huge choice. They can afford to be very picky. So, it is not only the applicant, but also the employers who have to do their utmost to convince the other party.
Although a lot has been written about how employers should deal with the notorious millennials, many employers still don't know what to do. It seems as though they would prefer to travel back ten years in time to find their juniors which, unfortunately, is impossible so far. That's why we'd better learn to deal with the dreaded millennials, and maybe even understand them. Hence this little insight into the psyche of a millennial.
It's not all about the money
Although we may seem very materialistic and mercenary, offering a high salary package is certainly not sufficient. Several studies even show that monetary factors have long since ceased to be the main drivers. But then what can you do? Give millennials the feeling that their work is important. Much more than money, millennials desire meaning, so it is very important to communicate your goals clearly and thus inspire them. Explain why you are asking your employee to perform certain tasks. If they can see the higher purpose of this, and believe in it, the motivation will be much higher.
Climbing the career ladder at high speed
I've already mentioned it: Millennials are certainly not known for their patience. When they are looking for their first work experience, they quickly dream of positions on a management level. It is, therefore, important to provide a clear insight into how juniors can evolve in your company, and within what time frame promotions are feasible. Be honest and open about this.
Quid pro quo
Live to work or work to live? Few young people seem to go for the first option. If you want flexibility from your employees, you have to offer it yourself too. Think in terms of flexible hours, negotiable terms of employment, space for activities or training in addition to the job ...
Communicate with millennials as if they were your own children
This brings us straight to the most important issue: good communication. Organisational psychologist Aart Bontekoning expresses it beautifully and writes that it is best to treat juniors just like your children at home. At home, parents coach their children, are open, discuss all kinds of things and give a lot of responsibility to their children. Parents of this generation are often in managerial positions and do this differently in the office than at home. Be accessible easily and efficiently, after all, that's what smartphones are for.
My own boss
You may have noticed that the youngest generation does not always follow orders strictly. Millennials want to have a say in the choice of what to do, or at least get a sense of autonomy. Therefore, discuss together which projects are on the priority list. Motivate why you think it is interesting to carry out a certain task first and thus draw up the planning together.
Not only the millennials will benefit from this.
These elements will make the company not only attractive for employees, but also for customers, concludes Bontekoning. When you enter a company, you feel it immediately. Is the atmosphere lively and open or formal and hierarchical? The latter indicates an old-fashioned culture. Some companies don't even know what it's all about. The older generation must, therefore, support young people in doing things that give them energy. In return, they will be inspired themselves to revise things from an innovative perspective. They might dare to try something completely different.
If everyone communicates openly and listens to each other, the generations can keep each other in balance. At Amandis, for example, everyone has the opportunity to have their say on the course of events. If we have ideas for improving certain business processes, the management is willing to listen. This gives us the feeling that we can make an effective contribution to the organisation, and the employer ultimately also benefits from new ideas.
Stricker, B. (2011). The New Workplace Currency – It’s Not Just Salary Anymore: Cisco Study Highlights New Rules for Attracting Young Talent Into the Workplace. NEWS RELEASE Cisco, 1–2.