The technological revolution of the 21st century brings with it changes that will guide the future of the work towards scenarios still unimagined. As in any technological-industrial revolution, thousands of unproductive sources of labor will disappear and, in turn, will create endless opportunities for those who can adapt and learn the jobs that the so-called fourth industrial revolution will offer.
For some this paradigm shift in the use of technologies in everyday life is closer than ever. For example, Raymond Kurzweil, an expert in artificial intelligence and Director of Engineering at Google, says that by 2029, the point of singularity will be reached – a notion that machines can become smarter than humans. Faced with this uncertain scenario, the recurrent question is: Are organizations prepared to face this great challenge?
The New Workforce: Millennials in the Workplace
Perhaps we do not know this answer until we are immersed in this new ultra-technological world and witness the collapse of thousands of companies that were not able to adapt to the new rules of the market. What we can anticipate is that the workforce of the future is ready to become the protagonist of this change and to set the standards of the new labor market.
Generation Y – also known as Millennials – will be the main actors in this scenario where everything seems to be uncertain and frightening. Born between 1980 and 1997, this generation is marked by technology, is part of them. Therefore, a world marked by artificial intelligence will not be an obstacle for them, but will be the ideal context to meet their needs. According to the report by Manpower, Human Resources Consultant, by 2020, millennials in the workplace will reach 35% of the world’s workforce
Working with Millennials: No Fear of the Unknown
Children of a generation that suffered the labor instability of the 80s and 90s grew up and were raised in times of economic and social crises; Generation Y, however, is characterized by being optimistic about their careers. According to the study of the human resources consultancy, which interviewed more than 19,000 young people from 25 countries, two-thirds of the people surveyed have optimistic expectations about their immediate future: 62 percent believe that if they lost their main source of income tomorrow, they could find a new job, equal or better, in less than three months.
Mexicans, Americans and Brazilians stand out; while the difference is set by those surveyed from Greece and Italy, two countries marked by a brutal economic crisis that generated high rates of youth unemployment.
The Stigma of an Entire Generation
British motivational speaker Simon Sinek referred to Generation Y as “narcissistic, selfish, aimless and lazy. He blamed the failed upbringing by his parents as “they were told they were special and that they could get everything they wanted. Meanwhile, when they join the workforce , they are up against a wall and their self-esteem is low.” According to the study by Manpower, these claims about a whole generation are far from being a true representation.
Contrary to the label “lazy and without goals”, the numbers show a different story. The report states that millennials in the workplace are hard-workers and in some cases work even harder than other generations: 7 out of 10 claim to work more than 40 hours a week; likewise, 25% of the claim to work more than 50 hours a week. In addition, 26% of the world’s total has two or more jobs.
Apparently these young people have many myths to bring down. Stereotyping and generalizations have labeled a generation that looks for a space in the labor world. A space that they will not leave easily: 60% of the millennials assure that they will work until after the 65 years of age. Lazy generation, Simon Sinek?
The Perfect Triangle for Generation Y
Like Simon Sinek, there are many others whose generalizations have given an entire generation a negative and unproductive connotation in the labor market. Another common stigmatization by previous generations is that of “little commitment to organizations” or “lack of corporate responsibility”. Again we speak from a consequence and not from the root of the problem.
It is not a problem for young people to think long term or to commit to an organization. Millennials are willing to wear your company’s shirt, as long as this is a reciprocal agreement. Unlike previous generations, Generation Y is not at the service of large corporations to be just a number on their payrolls. Expect to be part of the organization, a key to its operation and productivity. It is considered a talent, more than a resource.
There are three main factors that millennials, in the workplace, consider fundamental to think about a long-term alliance: a salary according to their demands, job security that allows to satisfy their standards of living and free time to enjoy the first two. An equilateral triangle whose balance generates the confidence necessary for this generation to feel valued and respected. These conditions, coupled with daily work factors such as a good working environment or work flexibility, will make a millennial the best guardian of the values and culture of your organization.
Working with Millennials: Practical Advice to Lead and Boost Generation Y
1- If you want to get the most from a millennial at work, show your cards
Let them know that they are important to the organization, that you value their work and that the company can boost their careers through internal and external training. Share examples of people who have made great strides in the company .
2- Create challenging opportunities
Give them the opportunity to work on different projects within the organization, with different teams. Provide the necessary technological tools to develop a collaborative work and satisfy its appetite for new experiences and opportunities.
3- Plan their goals
Talk to your employees about their career plan and goals. Instead of raising annual reviews, focus on achievable goals in the short and medium term, implement plans to achieve them. Use these short-term achievements to connect their daily work with career projects within the organization.
4- Recognize their achievements
Maintain a constant relationship with employees and offer them direct employee-employer feedback. Find the necessary channels to promote peer to peer recognition; the use of recognition tools increases the level of productivity and commitment to their tasks.
5- Anticipate conflicts
Absences for personal reasons go beyond the traditional. It will not only be days for the birth of a child, honeymoon or caring for a loved one. Anticipate conflicts and make your employees’ free time an important factor within the culture of the organization. Be clear with the flexibility you are willing to give to your workers.
6- Open up to new work alternatives
Generation Y tends to prefer full-time work, but many are also open to alternatives such as part-time or freelance work. Adopt any of these options in your projects and you will be able to generate greater commitment and retention among the millennials.