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    Dealing with Millenials in the Workplace

    One of the hottest topics in business right now is how to work with (deal with) millennials. To me, it seems like the same struggle must have occurred every time a new generation entered the workforce; but since I technically fall into the “Millennial” classification I have not experienced a new generation joining the already functioning workplace. If you google “Millennial Traits”, you can pull up lists from a variety of sources that discuss core traits, bad traits, how to deal with their traits, and on and on. Go ahead, try it and see what you come up with.

    I feel like I could get lost in all the different articles and perspectives of what Millennials are and what they want out of work. Then I think, does this describe me and my perspectives on the workplace? And am I ok with that? My feelings for the articles can vary depending on the tone and gravity the article places on the qualities of Millennials, but I think it is important to not take offense to qualities attributed to the Millennials since A) it is a generalization and B) every generation (and person) has good and bad traits that need to be recognized.

    Some articles, like this one, focus on how the workplace can accommodate the traits and wants of Millennials as if employers should be bending over backwards in order to make Millennials happy. Let’s face it – that’s just not always possible. Either due to the type of work and industry needs or because corporate standards and procedures that are not easily changed. Other articles focus more on how to work with Millennials within the established work environment. And some discuss the reasons Millennials possess the qualities they do – what life experiences they’ve had – and focus on developing an understanding of their traits.

    One way several employers have begun to accommodate for the interests of Millennials while maintaining (or improving) productivity is modifying required work hours and offering more flexibility to the employee. There is some evidence that a 32-hour work week is actually more productive. And CFO of Treehouse believes a shorter work week facilitates more creativity and “light bulb” moments as evidenced once his company implemented a 32-hour work week. For Millennials, it isn’t really about being lazy and wanting to work fewer hours, but having options that allow for a “work life blend” as described by Jones Loflin.

    When trying to develop your business’ strategy in welcoming Millennials into your workplace, I think it is important to consider all facets of the situation – from your perspective, from the Millennial’s perspective, and the long-term perspective of how any changes to your business environment will affect your bottom line in the long-run. Remember, change isn’t always bad and some interests of the Millennial generation may end up benefiting your business as well as being welcomed by other generations in your office. As more and more Millennials enter the workforce, consider what you can offer or change for all your employees to make a better work environment without compromising your business outcomes OR necessarily costing you more money.

    So....what is your business doing to work across generations?