Millennials are the fastest-growing generation in the workplace. For this reason, they have a lot of sway on how the business world will operate. Companies need to adjust to this demographic – here are some of the ways this generation is changing how offices work:
1. Fostering Employee Loyalty
For a long time, there was an assumption of company loyalty – meaning, an employee would favor staying with a company over leaving, even in the face of workplace dissatisfaction. Millennials don't buy into that: They're perfectly happy to find a new job if they're not satisfied with their current one, without much worry for how the company will do without them. For this reason, the tide is turning in the other direction: Instead of expecting employees to be loyal to them, companies are working towards being loyal to their employees. This is a major shift of focus and power, wherein employees are more willing to wield their ability to leave if they're not being treated the way they want to be.
2. Improving Flexibility
If the millennial workforce could be narrowed down to one thing, it would be flexibility. They crave being able to make their own decisions about when and where they work, and are just as comfortable working from the office as they are working from home or even a nearby coffee shop. Companies can embrace this by allowing for flexibility whenever possible. Not all companies can do this: for example, if employees regularly work in teams, or need to have a lot of meetings together, the company can't really let everyone work whenever is best for them. However, if employees mostly do solo work and they are more productive at night, businesses can them. The standards millennials are setting for flexibility can help an office run better, since it can let people do their jobs the way that makes sense for them.
3. Redefining Work-Life Balance
Millennials don't view work-life balance the same way as the workers before them. Rather than having clear-cut lines between their jobs and their personal lives, millennials are perfectly content to let the two blend. Part of this comes from the aforementioned flexibility: Millennials like to work in the ways that are best for them, even if it's between leisure activities. However, millennials also have their own work-life concerns that aren't always addressed. According to The Washington Post, nearly 80 percent of millennials are members of dual-income couples. Their needs aren't always clear to their Baby Boomer bosses, approximately 53 percent of whom are in single-income partnerships. This disconnect creates a bad situation, where bosses think their workers are asking for time or flexibility they don't really need, and millennial employees feel like their issues are being ignored.
4. Demanding Feedback
Another defining characteristic of millennials in the workplace is their need for feedback. To accommodate this need, businesses will need to reevaluate the way they let employees know how they're doing. Annual evaluations likely won't be enough for this generation of workers. Instead, companies should consider more frequent, informal meetings to let workers know how they're doing and how they can improve. This may help companies thrive in the long run, since their employees will be aware of issues early on and ready to face them.