Two Tips on How to Build A Millennial Work Team
How To Build a Millennial Work Team?
Let Them Teach You
This piece focuses on how a Millennial work team operates and how as cross generations, we can all learn from each other.
Billionaire Richard Branson recently conducted what was called “a corporate day” in his predominantly Millennial, forward thinking, Virgin Group offices. Employees had to be traditional for just one day – corporate attire, a 9 – 5 workday, and zero social media or personal calls.
Branson’s response? “It was a horrible experience for everybody.”
Whether you’re a large business like Virgin, or a small business like EPS, understanding your employees is crucial to the success of the organization. Having many Millennial employees & technically being one myself, I have a particular interest in what’s important to this generation and how it can affect our business. Below are some key insights on how Millennials and businesses can benefit one another.
The media exposes some perplexing stereotypes about Millennials; it’s a generation that is well educated and comprised of ambitious tech-savy “multi-taskers”, yet it doesn’t want to put the same types of efforts into work to match its predecessors.
These stereotypes often translate to Millennials making up the “lazy” or “me” generation.
We as a corporation wholeheartedly disagree with this belief. Millennial’s can be loyal, hardworking, highly skilled employees. We need to take the time to understand Millennial workers by learning about their thought process and how they view and experience the world beyond the workplace.
The World Is Changing
A post from Inc.com explained how Millennials are changing hard work; it took oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller 46 years to make a billion dollars; Bill Gates took 12. By the late 2000s, Groupon’s Andrew Mason became a billionaire in just two years. What most people don’t realize is, that like myself, Andrew is a Millennial. Millennials are considered to be the demographic born between 1980 and early 2000s.
During this time period, Millennials like Mason grew up in an age focused on technology and efficiency. It makes sense then, that we as Millennials have found ways to make money by being more innovative, efficient and using ever-evolving technological advancements. Even though this may present an image of laziness to some folks, it should be obvious that a majority of millennials are striving for success and finding new ways to disrupt traditional business models. Here are two key ways businesses can leverage the Millennial’s creative and technology-centric thinking:
1. Realize That Flexible is the New Cool
There’s a common belief that in order to form an efficient Millennial work team, organizations must invest in a “cool” flexible environment akin to Silicon Valley start-ups, from office slides and hot lunches to sleeping pods. Take one reader’s perception of this in Profit Guide as an example; “I keep reading that Millennial teams want to work at companies with collaborative cultures and non-traditional hierarchies.“ This could be interpreted as an organization’s obligation to “break the mold” of traditional corporate structures. Although, I disagree that companies need to make large monetary investments in order to achieve a millennial-friendly workplace.
As EPS is a growing business always sourcing new talent, we constantly evaluate our business model, current employees and how conducive these two aspects are to having a productive, and positive work environment. Every business coming of age in the 21st century wants to be progressive, ahead of the curve like our friends in the Silicon Valley or at Virgin Group, but not every emerging company has the dollars to do this.
Creating a flexible workplace has as much to do with the culture amongst employees as it does with its aesthetic environment. In order to have a progressive company culture, management teams need to invest their time rather than direct monetary investment. If millennial employees feel their needs are being met, that their ideas are valued, they will put that positive energy right back into your company or business.
2. A Diverse Workforce Makes a Happy Workplace
If you have a millennial employee, chances are he or she doesn’t excel at just one thing.
As a CEO interviewed in Profit Guide eloquently said, “Millennials don’t just want to be an account person; they want to be an account executive/graphic designer/copywriter/social media coordinator.”
As managers, it’s up to us to allow them to explore their various talents within the confines of our organization.
Based on the prosperity of the 1980s and 1990s, Millennials have grown up in an era where they had time and freedom to pursue various hobbies with little economic or social restrictions.
Graphic design may be your account coordinators hobby in their spare time, why not use it to your employee and your organization’s advantage?
Corporate silos spell stagnation, bureaucracy and ultimately a slow death for any organization. Putting your employees in cross-functional roles brings different kinds of thinkers together to foster real innovation.
While managing a millennial work team may be a relatively new frontier for many managers and business owners, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. The only way for employees to show their value is to have the trust and freedom from their superiors to explore. So invest your time, rather than your dollars of Millennial employees and I promise it is an investment you will not regret.