Millennials already comprise 25 percent of the labor force, and more enter every day in numbers too big to ignore. By the year 2020, they will comprise 50 percent of the global workforce. What does this mean for your workplace processes and culture?

The influx of Millennials, people born between 1984 and 2000, could have a major impact on the underpinnings of your business: core systems and values, how stakeholders communicate and collaborate, and even who works where and when. Are you ready for this new generation of employees? Let’s delve into what your preparedness should encompass:

First of all, understand that you will need to fill the ranks of aging workers with Millennials. Unfortunately, the pool of suitably skilled workers is shallow. Competition is strong among businesses looking for talented replacements for retiring baby boomers. Companies with the greatest success in recruiting the most-capable Millennials are innovative organizations that already think out of the box, like Google and Apple. Therefore, business leaders and HR teams need to update their current strategies to meet the expectations of this generation.

What are those expectations? Overall, they differ dramatically from anything that’s come before.  Here are some primary differentiators:

Technology

Millennials grew up in a digital world (think broadband, smartphone, laptops, and social media) and have a natural affinity for technology and the access to instant information it engenders. This is the rare generation that enters the work environment with a better grasp of a business tools than more senior employees. 

Behavior

Having experienced the global economic crisis first hand, Millennials are less concerned with the organization and more focused on their personal needs. They want to do work that is worthwhile. Employers should be wary of hiring Millennials who have had to compromise their agendas to get a job; they may reverse their positions when the economy rights itself. Avoid creating unrealistic expectations during the recruitment phase that may lead to job dissatisfaction.

Culture

Millennials dislike rigid corporate structure and are flummoxed by information silos. They want an open and flexible work environment, with work-life balance a priority. The culture should support learning, new experiences, and ongoing training. Though their extensive use of technology can blur the boundaries between work and home, many prefer office comradery to working alone. Nose-to-the-grindstone efforts are within their realm ... but are best performed in a comfortable and creative atmosphere.

Management Style

This generation expects rapid progression, varied and interesting careers, and frequent positive feedback. These young adults prefer to be rewarded for results and not the number of hours or where they work. They want to feel their efforts are recognized, so set up clear targets and mentor relationships with older employees who can coach them in their personal development. Be aware, however, of unconscious biases between older and younger workers. Millennials have an inherent proclivity to voice their ideas and views and to self-advocate, whereas older workers are more likely to comply with the demands of senior staff and having their directives followed unquestioningly.

Loyalty

As you recruit Millennials, keep in mind that they have a propensity to look out for new opportunities, and their rate of churn is high. While some of this can be attributed to age and relative lack of responsibilities, retention should be a strong focus of employers.

Millennials are looking to work for organizations that can meet their needs. The ability to attract and retain Millennial talent will be a vital component to achieving organizational goals.  One of the best ways to do this is with a communication system that offers the mobility, flexibility, speed, and ability to receive frequent feedback that Millenials demand.  To find out more about the ideal communications solution to provide exactly what Millenials what they are looking for:

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