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4 Ways Millennials Are Shaking Up the Workplace

Ella Baker
4 Ways Millennials Are Shaking Up the Workplace
Reading time 4 Mins
Published on May 9

A new generation of workers is putting their mark on the business landscape.

For the first time, Millennials now make up a majority of all U.S. workers and the modern workplace is evolving to meet their demands. According to a recent Pew Research study, 35% of the American labor force, numbering 56 million, are Millennials. As a generation that has come of age in uncertain economic times and great social change, the Millennial impact on their work environments are bound to be far-reaching and long lasting.

Flexibility, Work-Life Balance and Benefits

The Millennial focus on creating a better work-life balance has put increasing demands on the leadership and human resources teams at many companies. Deloitte reports that nearly two-thirds of Millennials would prefer to work on a freelance basis, through an employment agency or as a 1099 contractor rather than a traditional W-2 employee. The additional demands that these arrangements place on HR teams has meant a greater focus on time and task tracking, as well as the development of unique benefits and time-off policies.

With the rise of a nontraditional workforce, employers must be conscious of the risk of penalties from the IRS for offering traditional benefits to freelance or contract workers. Alternatively, many Millennials prefer customized benefits packages, including additional days off, flexible hours, telecommuting, discounts or cafeteria coupons.

With the percentage of remote or telecommuting workers on the rise, companies have been focusing on creating opportunities for increased engagement between in-house team members and remote freelancers. The use of video conferencing and digital team platforms, like Google Hangouts, Skype and Slack, allows contractors to be truly connected with traditional office staff.

Reversing the Mentor Relationship

As their numbers in the workplace continues to grow, Millennials have begun taking on greater leadership roles, even when not in managerial roles. A downside of the technological advances in the workplace is that it is often more difficult for older workers to keep pace than their younger counterparts. A novel solution to solving this unique problem – reversing the traditional mentor relationship. According to the New York Times, younger employees are being tapped to tutor older employees on everything from innovations in marketing to social media and the use of emojis.

Additionally, this role reversal offers Millennials the opportunity to develop the kinds of leadership skills that will be of great benefit to them – and their companies – as Millennials take over managerial positions. By utilizing Millennials to educate Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers, companies are creating a more prepared and active new generation of leaders.

Growth Opportunities and Professional Development

A recent Gallop poll found that 59% of Millennials find that opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job. Though it may seem that many employers are not meeting the needs of Millennials on this point – with only 29% noting that they feel truly engaged in the workplace. With an eye toward becoming the best employees they can be, Millennials feel empowered to learn and expand their knowledge and skills.

Attracting and retaining top talent among Millennials means that companies will need to place a greater focus on professional development and growth opportunities. For many companies, this may mean shortening the tenure an associate must have before gaining access to company-provided or company-paid development opportunities. From manager-associate mentorships to skills-enhancing conferences, companies are becoming more creative in their approach to providing growth opportunities to Millennial employees.

Diversity and Inclusion

Millennials are one of the most diverse and inclusive groups ever to make up the American labor force. Having borne witness to massive social, political, and economic upheavals, Millennials expect, and are creating, a more equitable workplace.

A recent Forbes article makes note of the Millennial push for diversity and inclusion programs and incentives. Understanding that an inclusive workforce fosters innovation, problem-solving, and trust, Millennials are more likely to seek out companies that includes not only age, gender, and ethnic diversity, but also cognitive diversity – a mix of experiences, ideas, opinions, and identities. By evaluating existing company culture and talent acquisition data, employers will be better prepared to meet this expectation.

Recruiting and maintaining Millennial talent doesn’t have to be a challenge

Being mindful of and meeting the unique demands of Millennial workers may seem daunting on the service. Sheakley’s Human Resources expertise can assist in the evaluation of your existing employment practices and recommend steps to create a more Millennial-friendly workplace.

Learn more about Sheakley’s HR team and contact us for your free consultation today. Stay up-to-date on all things Sheakley by subscribing to our blog and following us on social media. Join in the discussion by commenting below.

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