Many would remember the comments General Manager of Muffin Break, Natalie Brennan, made regarding millennials and their general unwillingness to undertake opportunities for unpaid internships and the generation’s inflated sense of entitlement and own self-importance. Although Ms Brennan both apologised and clarified her comments and apologised following the online backlash, her comments raised the dangers of stereotyping a generation.
While stereotyping generations is not, by any stretch, a new concept, there is some specific information about millennials that many employers may not fully understand. Firstly, there is some confusion around what constitutes a millennial — while there are different definitions, research predominantly defines millennials as those born between 1981 and 1996. Therefore, while many believe millennials are early 20-somethings, they are not as young and inexperienced as many may think! Many millennials have been in the workforce for some time and have a high level of education and experience.
Research shows that millennials are generally confident and optimistic. They are often looking for new learning opportunities and are willing to make the effort to help an organisation succeed. At the same time however, millennials are quite family-focused and want to have better work-life balance than previous generations. It is because of this focus on work-life balance that millennials have been criticised. However, with the rising levels of stress within the workplace, millennials' awareness of work-life balance is surely a good thing?
The baby boomer generation previously placed significant value on face-to-face time in the workplace, and while some organisations are still hung-up on this idea that employees are only working while they are in the building, we all know that this is not necessarily true. Instead, organisations need to shift their focus from the number of hours employees are visibly in the office to the results they are producing.
Managers are now entering a new phase where they need to adjust their leadership styles to support not only different personalities styles within the organisation but also the spread of employees across generations. Having a flexible leadership style and a strategic outlook to determine the desired outcomes for your business, as well as the best way to achieve those outcomes, is critical.
If you believe your Managers may benefit from Leadership training or if you have any questions about flexible working arrangements for your employees why not contact us. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.