A millennial is a person who was born between 1981 and 1996. There are 17 million millennials living in the UK, which is over a quarter of the population and by 2020 over 50% of the workforce will comprise of millennials.
I’ve recently noticed a large number of courses aimed at millennials, in particular, managing millennials in the workplace and I’ve wondered why millennials need to be managed any differently to any other generation.
A lot of the content I have viewed focuses around some of the points which I’ve referenced below:
Constant praise for menial tasks
In need of a good job title
Coaching rather than managing
Starting the workday later
As a millennial myself, I agree some of these points are very valid and are needed (not just for the millennial population), for example, embracing technology. However, others are just insulting and not particularly justified.
Millennials have grown up in a world which has constantly changed and evolved. From being dragged round the supermarket as a child, to being able to order your weekly shop to be delivered to your door – we’re used to things being made easier and making things easier for ourselves. And if we’re still getting the same outcome, why wouldn’t everyone want an easier life?
Let’s use my food shop as an example, I can drive to the supermarket, do my shopping and drive home which will take at least an hour. Or, I could open my laptop, shop online and choose my delivery time which may take about half an hour. I’ve saved myself 30 minutes, but my cupboards are still full, and I’ve got 30 minutes which I can use for something else.
I believe that as millennials have a mindset where things can be made easier, this causes friction in the workplace with the older generations, which leads to stupid courses titled “Managing Your Millennials” being created. Millennials question the norm. Just because John has been here 20 years and says it needs to be done that way, doesn’t mean he’s right. Instead, time could be saved, and focus could be around improving business performance and ensuring the business has a future in this ever-evolving world. It’s not about saving time to rock up to the office 30 minutes later than everyone else.
The “make it easy mindset” should be embraced more within the learning space. We’re still in a world where, most of the time, we’re heavily focused around the course or face to face session, which can take months for it to be rolled out and no longer relevant. Knowledge is no longer power. We should be in a space where collaboration, knowledge sharing, and bite-size content is the norm. Learning should be relevant and available at the time it’s needed.
Let’s say that there is a change to process within an organisation. Traditionally, L&D teams will find a SME to understand the learning needs, gather the relevant information & assets, create a storyboard, send storyboard to SME for review, create a SCORM course or face to face session, send this back to SME for review, publish SCORM course/start to delivery of face to face session – taking months to organise, deliver and complete. Or, the SME uses familiar tools like video, screen record, PDF, infographics and creates a video explaining the importance, a screen record to show the process, a one page guide as reference, adds and shares content on the social learning platform – taking a couple of days to deliver and complete. In both scenarios training is being delivered, however, with the first option the new process is likely to be in the business before the curated training is available for them to complete/enrol onto. With the second option, the SME is accountable for the content, and training can be created quickly meaning it’s available to colleagues when they need it.
The New Silent or Generation Z generation (people born from 2000 – present) are starting to hit the workforce. This generation grew up with the internet, iPhones and social media. I wonder how much they’ll start to question…
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