Over the last couple of years, there has been much talk about Millennials, their work habits, workplace issues, and all the other traits that can have an impact on a global economy. Some would say with good reason. Ever since 2015, Millennials have become the dominant workforce in the labor market gradually pushing out Generation X and Baby Boomers at the fringes of relevance.
With the things as they are, finding a solid footing in the future market means finding a way to successfully leverage the needs and issues of the people who are becoming the main engine driving that market.
Getting to know Millennials
But, before we proceed to the very workplace problems frequently associated with this age group, let us try to quickly put Millennials in some frame of reference.
Millennials (or Generation Y) represent a group of people born between 1982 and 2000, in the wake of the IT revolution.
Growing up in a world where the options for networking are virtually limitless and the information readily accessible, Millennials have become a generation marked by high education, tech proficiency, booming self-confidence, and enterprising spirit.
On the other side of the coin, at least speaking in the terms of the established corporate culture, Millennials have developed certain notoriety for narcissism, job-hopping, disregarding the corporate hierarchy, and low tolerance to unpopular workplace practices.
According to recent research that casts light at this issue from the Millennial standpoint, young workers appreciate the arrangements that will provide low impact on their respectful lifestyles, are encouraged by teamwork and mentoring, and seek the company culture that values collaboration and professional development.
In some cases, the members of Gen. Y will even be ready to take drastic pay cuts to get access to these social and lifestyle benefits. They ask to be approached with meaningful tasks, constructive feedback, and different engagement strategies.
Understanding these things is necessary for resolving some common issues we are going to break down below.
Issue no. 1: Workplace flexibility
Generally speaking, most of the younger workers consider traditional 9 to 5 work shifts unproductive and obsolete. Instead of this constraining model, they seek flexibility and freedom to perform their duties when they want and where they want.
Besides slight scheduling problems that can come off as a result of this mindset, this issue doesn’t need to be an issue at all.
On the contrary — offering the professionals the opportunity to work from their homes can have a positive impact on the operational costs necessary for running an efficient workplace.
Issue no. 2: Legal challenges
Because they have a much more diluted line of separation between professional and private life than the previous generations, Millennials take very seriously the issues of workplace safety, human rights, interpersonal relations, etc.
And while the concern for the workforce well-being should always be in the focus of business owners, the unique Gen-Y worldview entails better care and more thorough approach to these topics.
It is highly advised to work with attorneys specializing in personal injury and other relevant workplace problems when devising employee contracts and resolving troublesome situations.
Issue no. 3: High levels of stress
According to a recent survey, one in five young workers is experiencing workplace depression. A very high figure especially compared to the previous generations where this number never passed 16%.
The reasons behind this are numerous — Millennials are experiencing nation-wide issues with student debts, have a problem transitioning from their parent’s homes and a proportionally small number of job applicants are eventually employed at the position that utilizes their degree.
Dealing with such situations may require the services of professional psychologists and employment of different workplace benefits.
Issue no. 4: Disengaging workplace roles
Millennials are a very socially and environmentally concerned generation — they feel a high level of satisfaction when they are able to make a positive impact on the local and global level.
Because of that, the companies that enable the younger workers to engage in the activities with positive social implications (charity, recycling, etc.) tend to nurture a more loyal and focused workforce.
Also, Millennials highly appreciate (in some cases, more than the amount of salary) the work roles they are personally passionate about or allow them the options for personal and professional growth.
Issue no. 5: Dissatisfaction with the traditional corporate MO
As we already briefly mentioned, Millennials tend to see both social and corporate hierarchies as flat rather than vertical — an opinion that frequently comes into conflict with more traditional corporate structures based on the strict abidance to senior staff.
But, the times are changing and as an increasing number of younger people fills in the managerial positions, the old corporate practices are being abandoned.
The workplaces of the future are expected to feature a high level of socialization and collegiality, team-based organization, and senior staff capable of delivering continuous guidance and praise.
Issue no. 6: Transparency and feedback
This topic leans very heavily on the one we have just discussed, but it represents big enough of a problem on its own to warrant separate consideration.
So, Millennials are heavily invested in their companies’ values and agendas, and they require a high level of transparency on issues ranging from environmental impact to personnel policies and ranking systems.
Clandestine moves and taboo topics can only create an unnecessary rift between senior and junior staff. Also, the team leaders and executives are expected to deliver timely and constructive feedback that should cut future problems in the root.
Issue no. 7: Obsolete technologies and dated business models
Finally, the younger workers expect from their employers to allow them to use all the benefits of the digital world they were raised in. This is not just about the specific job-related duties, but also things like application process, communication within the company, filing of reports, monetary transactions, etc.
Everything needs to be streamlined, readily available, and, if possible, opened for remote access. As a result, the dated business models that were heavily rooted in redundant practices and extensive paperwork are slowly dying off and making room for more efficient solutions.
We hope these few considerations gave you an insight at some of the most common problems the members of the Generation Y are experiencing at their current workplaces. Of course, there are always exceptions.
But, we have enough experience by now to draw some general conclusions that can help us make the business environment more inclusive, efficient and contemporary.
The adaptations that need to be made, should be made fast. Generation Z is knocking at the doors of the business world.