What Is the Future of Work with Millennials by Our Side?
Millennials have already made a significant impact on the United States labor force, and in 2015, this generation became the largest in the workplace. Today, 50 percent of job applications received by companies are submitted by millennials. Why are millennials having such an effect on employers? It’s because they’re not just looking for work; they want to make a difference.
Millennials don’t fit the stereotype of lazy, entitled individuals that is often portrayed in the media. Rather, for those who can understand this generation’s perspective, they are ambitious young people who are eager to take responsibility for their role in the workplace skills. They don’t want just to be kept busy in their job; they want to be influential in their field.
How Are Millennials Changing the Workplace?
Millennials are not only revolutionizing the workplace; they are also inspiring other generations of workers to challenge the status quo.
- Making a difference: Millennials are determined to be a part of your organization’s mission. This means it is important to make sure that your millennial employees can see how their work is instrumental in pushing your business goals to success; it will help you keep your employees motivated on tasks.
- Staying flexible: Among other things, millennials are pushing the boundaries of conventional styles of work by supporting flexible work hours and telecommuting. They want to take advantage of the options that modern technology offers, and they’re also encouraging Boomers and Gen-Xers to think about the flexibility of working from home.
These attributes are giving business leaders and HR professionals an exceptional opportunity to encourage millennials in their endeavors and to enhance engagement, productivity, and performance. These newest additions to the workforce are knowledgeable and experienced in producing work remotely and on a flexible schedule. When they’re trusted to work this way, millennials typically perform well. This is really not surprising since a 2015 survey of millennials conducted by FlexJobs, showed that 85 percent of millennials wish to telecommute 100 percent of the time.
Will There be Enough Work in the Future?
Opinions are divided over whether AI and other technological advances will reduce the number of human jobs or whether they will produce as many jobs as they replace. Amid this debate, around 37 percent of millennials are concerned about their job being partially or fully taken over by AI technology.
According to McKinsey Global Institute’s latest report on workforce transitions, by 2030, around one-third of activities in 60 percent of occupations could be automated. However, thanks to growing global consumption and shifting spending patterns as people age, the future may still look bright for workers who may be displaced by AI.
Stagnation of Income
Stagnation of Income is a term is used to describe the reduction of income growth since the 1960s. The decline amounts to a lower starting wage, for workers who turned 25 after the 1960s than those who were hired in the previous decade, and a lower overall lifetime income. This is a huge concern for millennials because it means they have a lower income level than their parents, even though the cost of living is higher.
Stagnation and unequal incomes are not just a result of the growing chasm between older and younger workers. Incomes have also been falling among older workers. Though the young, lower-income workers will earn more as they get older, it’s unlikely that they will earn enough catch the earlier generations in terms of spending power. These factors are influencing millennials’ decisions about purchasing a house and starting a family.
Gig Economy and Independent Work
A gig economy places emphasis on freelance work or short-term contracts rather than long-term or permanent employment. To thrive in a gig economy, employees focus on four elements:
- Place: Although they are not working in a traditional office, gig workers have a place where they can focus on their tasks.
- Routine: Freelancers develop a routine which helps them work efficiently and feel in control of their projects.
- People: Because successful freelancers are aware of the difficulties of isolation, they have a supportive network to help them through challenging times.
- Purpose: Freelance workers need to feel that their work is fulfilling some purpose other than just making a living.
Currently, freelance workers make up around 34 percent of the U.S. workforce. This is expected to grow to 43 percent by 2020. For millennials who are just starting out in their career or who are about to get their first promotion, the gig economy has potential but currently presents fewer opportunities.
Retaining Quality Millennial Employees
For business leaders and HR personnel who want to hold on to ambitious, hard-working millennials, the first step is to build an employment model that draws them in. What would this model look like? There are five main elements that millennials are seeking in the workplace:
- Flexibility: By giving millennials the opportunity to balance their personal life and their career, your company will not only attract more skilled workers, but you will also be able to retain them and keep them loyal to your mission. Flexible work hours and working remotely lead to happier and healthier employees. Because it reduces stress in the workforce, flexibility also prevents burnout.
- Mentorship: There are many benefits of mentorships for your employees. Not only does this type of program give workers exposure to their mentor’s knowledge and network, but it also increases employee confidence. Though you may not realize it, there are also benefits for the mentor, such as increased job satisfaction and increased company loyalty.
- Transparency: Leaving employees in the dark about what’s going on in your company will only leave them to imagine worst case scenarios. It’s also a sure way to spread mistrust through your workplace. By implementing transparency, you will gain your employees’ trust and prevent shock when you do have to share the news with them.
- Purpose: Many millennials say that they value a sense of purpose in their work over anything else. Therefore, developing a meaningful sense of your organization’s impact will influence your retention rates in a positive way. Be sure to make your millennial employees aware of how their input connects to the company’s goals.
- Company culture: Bear in mind that millennials value company culture more than any generation that has preceded them. So much so, that they are even prepared to give up a percentage of their annual salary to work in an environment which they consider is good for them. Talk to your millennial employees and find ways to make their workplace a more conducive environment.
Since millennials are focused on purpose rather than profit, they have the ability to enhance their workplaces throughout the world. Their dedication to flexibility is set to make many organizations more collaborative. Business leaders and HR personnel will reap many benefits if they start working now to attract and retain more millennials in their workforce.