Millennials in the workplace: Unlocking the mysteries

The business world has changed more than most people realize. And businesses that do not adopt are bound to fall behind.  

That was the message conveyed by the Canadian Professional Sales Association this week at the Executive Workshop for Sales Leaders, which they co-hosted with CRM Dynamics at Microsoft Canada’s Mississauga office on Oct 24, 2019.  

One area the CPSA highlighted was the changing demographics in the workplace. One key focus they spoke about was the influence of Millennial workers in today’s sales environment.  

When we talk about Millennials we still often fall into stereotypes and generalities. We picture a young, urban person eating avocado toast with their head buried in their phone. Although there certainly are Millennials that fit that description, the reality is that, like any demographic, they are much more diverse that the stereotypes suggest.   

And older. The oldest millennial will turn 40 in 2021. They are likely more concerned with their next mortgage payment than they are with making a bunch reservation at the hot, new spot downtown.  

So, it’s important for a business to understand that diversity when considering how to manage Millennials in the workplace, as well as how to reach them in the marketplace.  

The other thing businesses have to understand is that the Millennial demographic is massive. By 2020, Millennials make up 65 per percent of the workplace worldwide. They are the biggest, most important and highly influential portion of the marketplace.  

To help you navigate this reality here are 3 reasons that you need to manage Millennials differently than their older colleagues. 

No 1 — Living in a digital world 

The defining characteristic of the Millennial generation is that they grew up in a world where the Internet was always a factor. Unlike their older, Gen X, siblings the Internet was not something to “get used to,” but rather a known commodity that was just always there.  

As a result, it’s a generation that demands to be served digitally. That is both from a consumer standpoint – Millennials would rather click a link than drive to a store to get their goods and services – and from an employee standpoint.  

If you are managing Millennials you must be prepared to communicate with them in a way that speaks to that. Text messaging, or other remote communication technology, is preferred over email or the telephone. Software that allows workers to perform their duties away from the office (e.g. Microsoft Teams) can prove to be valuable to managing a Millennial workplace.       

No 2 — Work life balance 

Tied into the final point above, Millennial works put a great deal of value on finding an appropriate balance between the two aspects of their lives.  

It’s not that they are lazy or lack drive – far from it – but this is a generation that wants to work-to-live, not live-to-work.  

From a consumer perspective that means that lifestyle products and convenience are highly valued.  

When managing Millennials, you need to be aware of that philosophy. You’ll find that if you are flexible in certain ways – flex hours, work from home days, etc. – you’ll get quality performance from your workers.  

No 3 — Internal movement    

The era of a one company career is long over. Millennials will switch jobs several times throughout their career. This is partly out of their control. Changes in the economy necessitate a flexible approach to your career, but it is also tied into a philosophical attitude of the generation.  

Millennials want to be challenged and engaged by their work and they will change jobs if they are not getting that from their current company.  

Replacing workers is expensive for any company and you’ll want to avoid that at all costs. A great way to prevent losing Millennial workers is to provide them ways to move within the company. And, not only as promotions. For many Millennials offering a sideways move that will further challenge and enhance their skills will be enough to keep the happy and in the company.  

This is just a small sampling of the insights attendees gained at the CPSA/CRM Dynamics co-hosted event.  To make sure that you don’t miss our next event sign up to a newsletter now.   

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