The Millennial Workforce: A New Breed of Workers

Today’s workers are a mix of the different generations of the times, with each group bringing with them the distinct attitudes, unique experiences, and the collective influences that define their respective generations. On the top tier are the Baby Boomers (1946-1964) who are certified workaholics but are now pushing 60, while next in line are the pragmatic yet risk-taking members of Generation X (1965-1980). A relatively unknown quantity is the Millennials who are just starting to join the workforce.

Who are the Millennials?

Born between the years 1980 and 2000 (or thereabouts), a lot has been said about the Generation Y. The Millennialss, as they are also called, are said to be products of doting parents who think they are special simply because they exist, individuals who will only take “yes” for an answer, and an incredibly self-reliant group who would rather Google the solutions to tech concerns than call IT for support. Millennials also have a simplified approach to setting priorities: they come first.

As you can see, a lot of the preconceived notions about this generation that has been rehashed over the past few years aren’t exactly positive. But on the other hand, the Generation Y’ers also bring with them their own set of desirable work traits that will no doubt prove to be useful as they start climbing up the corporate ladder. Because they were brought up believing that any goal is within their reach, they have adopted a “can-do” attitude. Further, Millennials are known for being tech-savvy and experts at multi-tasking. They also work well in teams within a structured and creative work environment.

The Millennials at Work

Now as to how any of these said characteristics will manifest themselves as they slowly assimilate into the workforce still remains to be seen. One fact remains, though: with over 76 million individuals born during the years 1981 to 1999, it will only be a matter of time before the Millennials take over the workplace as the baby boomers take their leave. In fact, by 2014, there will be more Millennials driving than there are baby boomers alive.

For many managers and companies, this new breed of workers are more than welcome. After all, who wouldn’t want confident and goal-oriented individuals on their team? Give this worker a variety of tasks and you can be sure that he’ll get these accomplished and then some. But then again, you also have to be prepared for their high expectations as to how an ideal work environment should be.

For instance, a Gen Y employee thrives on diversity and challenge. Give them the same routine day in and day out, and pretty soon, they will experience boredom and feel that their skills are not being maximized. While Millennials understand that they have to “pay their dues” and start with entry-level jobs, they do so with the intent of accomplishing valuable and meaningful work so as to move on to greater responsibilities. Feedback therefore, has to be constant and immediate.

This new breed of American workers also prefer a healthy balance between professional responsibilities and personal obligations. While this is nothing new to most people in the working class, this is a particular concern for the Y Generation. A recent survey conducted shows that 73% of employed Millennials believe that working time should be no more than the time they spend with their families and friends, and pursuing personal interests.

Managing Gen Y Employees

So what do companies need to do to keep these new breed of workers happy? Simple – give them what they want. Or at least, what they need for them to realize their full potential. These include a proper work structure with clearly defined assignments and corresponding success factors, challenging tasks that leave no room for boredom, group projects, as Millennials perform better and accomplish more in teams, feedback when they ask for it (or even if they don’t), and a balanced life-work environment.

In addition, Millennials want flexible work arrangements for them to be able to find that right balance between career and personal pursuits. This requires some reinventing of the conventional work schedules that most businesses are using. The good news is Gen Y employees are also social media geniuses and are highly adept at all types of electronic and communication devices out there today. This means that they can easily deal with any non-traditional means of work scheduling that businesses may adopt.

Using Employee Scheduling Software

With the aid of an efficient employee scheduling software like NimbleSchedule, you can make the most of your Millennial employee’s flexibility and electronic literacy. For one, it helps you manage part-time employees who are juggling work and school, and allow you to easily swap shifts if you need to accommodate worker requests. Employees are also welcome to do self-service scheduling for as long as they don’t violate any of the rules previously set.

As soon as the work schedules are finalized and approved, notices are immediately sent out to the concerned employees via SMS or email. For Millennials who are always connected, these methods of communication work out perfectly, so they don’t miss out on important events both in the workplace and outside of it.

For any organization looking to get and keep Millennials in their ranks, NimbleSchedule is a must-have tool that will help you provide them with the flexible and balanced work environment that is best for this generation of workers.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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