An HR Perspective of Millennials in the Workplace

Millennials in the Workplace

On last week’s podcast, we had the chance to meet with Mike McGuiness. Mike is a consultant for the HR Policy Association and spends a good amount of his time working with the nonprofit, jobipedia.org. Jobipedia is a free website that provides career and internship advice to recent graduates and current college students. Anyone can submit a question that will then be answered by top professionals inside the HR departments of a variety of Fortune 500 Companies.

As much as anyone can be, Mike is practically an expert in the ways of millennials. He shared with us his views on how millennials positively impact today’s world of business.

 

Establishing Roots

A common idea about millennials is that they tend to job-hop, never staying in one place for more than about two years. Whether it’s for higher pay or to take on new challenges, this does seem to be the case. However, Mike didn’t think of this as a bad thing. Instead, he pointed out that the continual job-hopping pushes employers to rethink their policies. The question has shifted away from “how do I do what’s best for the company?” to “how do I hire the best people and retain them?” Mike explains that millennials are “forcing employers to look externally in terms of, ‘how can I attract the best talent?’ Does that mean offering a flexible schedule or a remote work environment? Or, maybe a more attractive work environment to make sure that people come in and enjoy where they work on a day-to-day basis — so that they can interact positively and efficiently with their peers.”

Because millennials are craving more from their jobs than just a way to get paid, the industry is having to make a change. In the process, every employee is benefitting from the crafted new environment.

 

Attitudinal Variations

Although many view millennials as lazy, Mike points out that “taking an entire generation and generalizing them in broad strokes” will never be true for everyone. Of course there will always be outliers, in both directions. But that doesn’t mean all millennials are lazy, nor should they be viewed as such.

In fact, one noticeable positive difference in the attitudes of millennials and older generations is the way they receive feedback. Mike notes that many older individuals fear negative feedback, especially on a performance review. Millennials, on the other hand, run towards that. They say things like, “Tell me what I’ve done wrong, I want constant information feedback.”

While a constant outsourcing of feedback might be difficult for an employer, the attitude it creates is beneficial for the company as a whole. It signifies the desire for growth, on a personal and professional level. Mike says, “Frankly, if somebody is approaching my workforce like that, I’d love to have them on board because I know that they’re trying to make our world better.”

 

Driving the Business Forward

Along with the rise of millennials entering the workforce comes a unique element previous generations haven’t dealt with: technology.

Technology is racing through business, and who better to install new versions than the very people who grew up with it? Especially in the field of HR, technology is making impacts on efficiency and progress. Mike points out that in the past two years, HR has begun to take “a more quantitative approach as opposed to a qualitative approach,” largely spurred on by technological advances. As more millennials come in, new strategies arise. “Let’s look at performance data, let’s look at some of this hiring data. Who’s truly successful and why? They’re now accessing that in a much more intelligent way and utilizing it to make better decisions.”

One of the key reasons for this shift is the millennials’ new way of approaching things. Raised in the generation of Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, millennials don’t believe any idea is impossible. And perhaps that truly is the key to driving business into the future.

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