The workplace is in conflict with a new generation of employees called millennials. This is not a generation who grew up believing, like former generations, that you adapt to what your boss says or you will be placing your survival in jeopardy. This is a generation that has been told all their lives that they can be anything they want to be, because they are entitled to it. When they enter the workplace, they face a corporate structure and thought process that is, by all accounts, foreign to the way they think. Many of these employees were brought up on video games, social media and not much in the way of strict authority.
As a result, these individuals have been called lazy, unfocused and virtually impossible to manage. Despite not fitting in to the corporate mindset, businesses must realize that there really is no avoiding the need to learn to deal with and address millennials in the workplace. When what remains of the Boomers, the Hippies and Generation X continues to age and make their way out of the workforce, what companies will have left to deal with are the millennials and their digital native children coming in behind them. The following sections express ways to help companies to appeal to millennials to better integrate this segment of the population into the work force in a positive and profitable way.
The Happiness Factor
While most who came before the Millennial generation saw the workplace in a more dystopian light where happiness could never truly be achieved, the millennials are a bit more oriented to the utopian idea that the workplace is the place to find fulfillment and to make a meaningful change in the world around them. This change in perspectives should not lead to a negative outlook for business owners. Businesses thrive, not in fighting the trend, but in imbibing in it.
So, if millennials want to be happy at work, an emotional state that tends to lead to more, not less, productivity, then maybe the way business owners have treated former generations has been bad to their bottom line. Perhaps the millennials, in this respect, can be seen as the agent through which corporate understanding will undergo a major paradigm shift and be corrected towards something that is more fundamentally productivity-based through accommodating the happiness of their employees, not threatening their jobs to motivate more productivity.
While former generations worked to get into long-term careers, millennials are not so interested in being stuck at the same company for the next 30 or 40-years. In fact, millennials like the flexibility of moving from job to job on a frequent basis. Whether this stems from a lack of focus or an aversion to commitment is not a point subject to an exact science when it comes to the Millennial mind. millennials seem to simply get bored with routine which means that days of working for a large corporation in hopes of receiving a fabulous, high valued retirement package could become a thing of the past.
It may be that the best way to handle millennials is to turn this system over to some kind of universal token system, where companies agree to pool fractional retirement compensations that can be redeemed by millennials who acquire work tokens. These tokens would essentially represent the duration a Millennial has worked for a company, and it would in turn represent their fair share of the fractional retirement compensations from the universally funded pool, mentioned above, that they are entitled to withdraw upon retirement.