In regards to the newest wave of post grads entering the job market, we’ve all heard, perhaps even uttered, these same sentiments before: Millennials are lazy and entitled, with unreal expectations regarding their careers and their lives in general. Theirs is the generation who grew up where “everyone is a winner” and many believe this is reflected in their professional demeanor. Although many feel the Millennials are a less loyal generation, only looking out for themselves and always ready to leave for a “better” opportunity, Millennials and their supporters will tell you just the opposite.
In fact, a study conducted by Beyond.com revealed that eight out of ten say they are committed to their jobs and their employers, while only one in one hundred HR professionals feel their young workers are dedicated to their facilities. The study further revealed that most workers of this generation argue against every leading stereotype surrounding their generation: 11% of HR feel this new generation is hard working, while 86% of Millennials say they are. On the flip-side, 86% of HR professionals view their young employees as tech-savvy, while one in three Millennials agree. Two-thirds of Millennials say they have strong communication skills, while only 14% of HR support this statement. So, what exactly is causing this disconnect? And what can we do to bridge this gap?
Facilities or Millennials, Are Either Loyal?
As the Baby Boomers mentally “check-out” and prepare for retirement, a growing number of Millennials enter the workforce, arguing that they are loyal employees. Rich Milgram, founder and CEO of Beyond.com states “Younger job seekers don't have it easy in the current economy and they've been put in a hole by the generations that have gone before them. Until Millennials are able to overcome existing stereotypes, they'll have to work extra hard just to get noticed.” But just who is responsible for the employee turnover that seems to be so prevalent in today’s professional environment? Many argue it is the youth and their inability to commit to anyone but themselves, while others believe the reason for "job-hopping” is placed, in large part, on the organizations themselves. Rather than pointing fingers, both sides need to do work together to strengthen these relationships.
Consider Their Side
Hiring managers must first consider the fact that Millennials fall into the age group of 19-26. What does this mean? Try to remember when you were that age. In your college years, you likely worked a variety of jobs—ones that fit into your college schedule and still afforded you the ability to make ends meet. Once you graduated, it was time to set out finding your career: one where the “perfect fit” works both ways. Since Millennials have not had a lot of time in the workforce, they have not had the ability to build lasting professional relationships or to demonstrate their loyalty to any one facility.
Consider also that they are entering the workforce during an economic crisis, where companies are laying people off left and right; they may not have much of a choice in some of their job changes. The Millennials are known for having strong bonds with their families, so it is likely they have watched their parents struggle through downsizing and lay-offs throughout this recession. In their downsizing campaigns, many organizations have, in some people’s eyes, shown disloyalty. Loyalty is built on trust and is a two-way street. Therefore, it will take effort on both parties’ parts to gain that trust and loyalty. But with 82% of this generation reporting that they are loyal employees, they are showing that they do long to be a part of something big.
What Can We Do?
As workspace managers, our goal is to ensure the facility runs as efficiently as possible. Productivity is maximized when everyone is working together. So what exactly can we do to break down those stereotypes that seem to be so prevalent nowadays?
We are in the middle of a very unique time, as our workplace is comprised of members from four very different generations. “By 2025, 70% of positions in the American workforce will be filled by members of Generation Y - those born in the 80's and the 90’s,” replacing the Baby Boomers who are entering retirement. The most effective way to add value to your organization is by encouraging these varying personalities to work together and learn from each other.
FMLink recently polled a group of Corporate Real Estate professionals regarding generational differences, with these overwhelming results: “Millennials rely heavily on technology, have exceptional multitasking abilities, exist in a state of near-constant collaboration and value the creation of change. Gen Xers are adaptable, focused on work-life balance, respect loyalty and successfully maneuver both the tech-heavy Millennial space and the tradition-loving Baby Boomer world. Baby Boomers are good team players who prefer face-to-face contact, the phone over an email and are strongly customer-service focused.”
Based on these results, it is clear that each individual has something to add to the team. By working together and learning from each other, both Millennials and Baby Boomers will find the other has valuable information and insight to be shared. Baby Boomers have the opportunity to influence the leaders of tomorrow, while gaining valuable information, from their younger peers, regarding technology and adaptation to change. The results? Solid working relationships built on trust. This leads to loyalty spanning the entire company; something everyone stands to benefit from.
What is your take on the Millennial generation that is taking over our workforce? What have you learned from them and how have you been a positive force in leading them down the path to leadership?