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Millennials in the workplace – part 1

“Millennials in the workplace”. Google the term and you’ll receive around 17,000,000 results. Why? Possibly because this generation is proving a challenge for many employers to manage and everyone’s searching for answers.

At Bare Bones, we receive so many enquiries from employers that we’re dedicating two News posts to this topic. The first provides some background to the group and our second highlights how employers can get the best from their millennial team members.

US authors William Strauss and Neil Howe are widely credited with naming the millennials. They define this group “as those born in 1982 and approximately the 20 years thereafter”. According to this definition, millennials are now aged 15 to 35. That’s a fairly wide range and there’s no shortage of debate whether millennials are actually Generation Y (people born between 1981-1991), Generation Z (born between 1991-2001), a combination of the two or something totally separate.

However you define timeframes around millennials, it’s generally accepted this is a group generally characterised by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media and digital technologies.

Employers often struggle with managing millennials, citing words and terms such as “entitled”, “self-absorbed”, “narcissistic”, “poor work ethic” and “unfocused” to describe this group’s approach to work.

British/American author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek identifies four factors why millennials have become what we see today: parenting, technology, impatience and environment. Simon says in today’s world of instant gratification, only two things are not available to us immediately – job satisfaction and strength of relationships. He believes millennials, because of the four factors noted above, are not equipped to deal with any environment in which they cannot make an immediate impact…and this includes the workplace.

Simon goes on to say millennials need to learn patience and recognise that some things that really matter in life – such as love, job fulfilment, joy and self-confidence – take time. Simon’s fear is that an entire generation will go through life never finding joy or fulfilment…in work or in life.

The YouTube video “Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace” has clocked up nearly 8 million views. It provides a well-articulated opinion on millennials, the reasons they often struggle in the workplace and our obligation to address these reasons…or the consequences we all face.

In our next News post we’ll continue our investigation into millennials in the workplace and shed some light on how you can get the best from this group. Stay tuned…or better yet, give Bare Bones Consulting a call: our expertise can help create a workplace where everyone is engaged, productive and sticks around for the long haul…millennials included.

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