MILLENNIALS: FORCING LONG-OVERDUE CHANGE
Expected to make up to half of the workforce within the next year, Millennials have been getting plenty of attention lately. Column inch after column inch asserts that they’re narcissistic and lazy, doe-eyed dreamers who will change the world… the moment they finally select the perfect Instagram filter. Worse yet, Millennials will leave your company after a year with no remorse, and they’re taking their vested 401(k) with them.
As you’d suspect, companies are going to have to change to accommodate this generational influx. And you know what? Those changes are way overdue.
While a 2013 Gallup poll did indicate that Millennials are the most likely generation to leave their jobs in the next 12 months, the urge to job-hop may not be entirely their fault. What’s the best way to motivate Millennials? According to the same poll, they’re driven by “mission and purpose” and “opportunities to learn and grow.” Perhaps it’s not that Millennials are disloyal, but instead that companies have not adapted fast enough to inspire and motivate them. When companies have a well-defined mission and purpose that is communicated effectively across the employee base, brand champions are born – whether they are employees who stay on the job longer or customers who buy more. This is change all generations can appreciate.
Companies driven by a clear purpose perform better and give employees something to strive for beyond this quarter’s numbers. However, it would be shortsighted to say this is enough. We live in an era of constant innovation where start-ups are valued at hundreds of millions of dollars by their first birthday. Companies that can’t keep up won’t be around for long.
To keep from falling behind, organizations must be willing to constantly reinvent and take risks. And as mentioned earlier, Millennials - the generation that will soon make up half the workforce - are more than open to new ideas and are driven by “opportunities to learn and grow.” Organizations that embrace constant evolution and provide opportunities for the best ideas to rise to the top are those that will end up getting the best Millennial talent to stick around. And if not? Millennials will just create those companies themselves.