Me, Me, Millennial's
Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when the generation starts and ends; most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. The generation encompasses ages 18- to 34-year-old.
Millennials will represent nearly 75 percent of the work force by 2030. At 75.4 million-strong, the Millennial generation has now outnumbered the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) as well as the Generation Xers (ages 35-50). Millennials surpass Gen Xers and Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. Taking over the work force is not all Millennials are doing, they will also represent consumer spending of $1.3 trillion dollars in the next decade and $10 trillion in spending in their lifetime. These figures are for the U.S. alone, imagine the numbers worldwide. So how do we utilize their unique strengths and mindset to maximize their contribution to the current workforce? Is the reputation they have as the me, me, me generation well earned?
In an age were information is power, understanding this generation will help not only to empower a corporation whose workforce is fueled by them, but who markets to them as well.
- Digital natives - Millennials have grown up in an era where the number of resources they have is almost infinite making them more efficient problem solvers and critical thinkers. They have never known a time without the internet, social media or the power that it wields. This fact also makes them the generation that will not accept the simply answer to their question why...and 'because I said so,' is a phrase that just won't fly. They are also truly the 'selfie' champs!
- Confident - self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change. Unlike other generations, Millennials are relatively unattached to organized politics, religion, and marriage. They are linked by social media, burdened by debt, and optimistic about the future. Millennials would rather collect experiences instead of cars, homes or things. Traveling the world and immersing themselves in another culture is the norm for Millennials as opposed to other generations that see it as a somewhat unattainable goal.
- Educated - Millennials are on course to become the most educated generation in American history. This trend is driven largely by the millions of 20-somethings enrolling in graduate schools, colleges or community colleges in part because they can’t find a job. Close to 40% of 18 to 24 year-olds were enrolled in college as of 2008.
- Purpose - Millennials want a purpose. They want to feel a part of a larger plan that is shaping and changing the world around them. Millennials want to 'make a difference.' They want to feel that the corporation they work for has the same values and is integrity driven. They feel the same way about the products they buy and the seller/manufactures behind the product. Name brands don't mean a thing to this generation if they don't feel a connection emotionally.
- Desire personal growth - They thrive if they feel their bosses are invested in their personal growth and tend to develop stronger relationships with not only their boss but their company.
- What a coach not a boss - Millennial employees expect greater accessibility to the leadership. They will email the CEO or text them without a second thought about protocol or boundaries. Creating an environment where Millennial employees feel supported and valued by the leadership will lead to increased productivity and valuable relationships.
- Tenure - Averages two years. In the span of a professional career, two years seems to hardly make a dent. In comparison, the average tenure for Gen X employees is five years and seven years for Baby Boomers. One of the primary reasons Millennials are more likely to change jobs is because they are not willing to stick around if they do not believe they are receiving any personal benefit or growth. Bad bosses are a motivation to leave a job as opposed to poor wages.
Ok so now what? What do we do with this self absorbed, everyone gets a trophy, coffee drinking, lazy, me, me, me generation? We recognize their strengths, harness their potential and empower their critical thinking skills, that's what! They may not understand big corporation leadership hierarchy, but they do understand how to turn themselves into brands, with “friend” and “follower” tallies that serve as sales figures. They may always question why something has operated a certain way in a company for years and choose to 'change the rhythm up' resulting in a faster more efficient workflow method. Millennials may not embrace the standard - nothing changes rule because they are the most global generation bringing to the table a unique ability to change and adapt. So what is the old cliche...if you can't beat them join them...hmm better still, understand them and use their skill-set to gain a stronger hold on the changing market.