The largest generation in U.S. history is entering prime working and spending years, leaving more businesses to face the question, what do they want from a job?
“Since millennials will comprise one-third of all U.S. adults by 2020, and will make up an estimated 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, how to relate and manage these individuals is a very relevant and important topic for the business community and especially HR professionals to consider,” said Sarah Scudder, chief growth officer with The Sourcing Group.
It’s a print-management company based in Rohnert Park, where she hires, manages and leads millennials. Five years ago she founded the Young Innovators Group with the goal of focusing on innovation as a way to attract, hire and retain more people in this age group to the industry.
‘EARN THEIR EMPLOYEE’S LOYALTY’
“Employers today face a new kind of accountability and have to earn their employee’s loyalty,” said Elaina Marie, a leadership and employee engagement consultant and author of “Happiness is Overrated-Live the Inspired Life.” “With such compelling numbers entering the labor market, it’s time to warm up our collective empathy muscles for millennials, strive to understand them and learn how to focus their energies and leverage their strengths.”
Both Marie and Scudder were born in April 1983 and so are part of the 91 million people born between 1980 and 2000 who hear the beat of a different drummer than Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964) and generation Xers or centennials (1965–1976).
Some say they are disloyal (since they are not afraid to leave jobs about every two years), shallow, self-obsessed (narcissistic), easily distracted, lazy, entitled, impatient, still living with parents, wanting instant satisfaction and tough to manage, as described by Time Magazine in May 2013 and other sources. As a whole, millennials don’t believe in “hard work” without purpose and have difficulty handling boredom.
Others see them as seeking a mission and purpose, philanthropic, desiring to make an impact, open-minded, liberal, passionate about equality, upbeat, more tech-savvy than other generations, and connected — with emphasis on electronic communication through social media networking.
In a 2012 survey, 1,189 employees and 150 managers reported millennials as saying: “They want to make the world a better place” (64 percent), “I want to be my own boss” (72 percent), “I want a flexible work schedule” (74 percent) and “My boss should serve as a coach/mentor (79 percent).” At the same time, a majority (89 percent) prefers a collaborative work culture in contrast to a competitive one.
RAND Corporation consultant, author and speaker, Simon Sinek, said that millennials “see the summit, but not the mountain itself. They want more money and advancement now, but have to learn patience and realize success is often a long journey with incremental steps to reach the peak. The motivation behind what a firm does, true transparency, can include factors millennials desire to emulate. This is more important than just what the company makes and its product or service features.”
Change and innovation found among many North Bay employers may even be a lure to millennials, said Jim Geist, regional vice president for Nelson and Associates in the North Bay.