This is the third in a four-part series on leadership advice for engaging the hearts and minds of the Millennial Generation in the Workplace. First we discussed what the standing issue is with the Millennial Generation in the Workplace. Then we discussed what all the Generational Differences are. Today we’re going to dive deeper into what the generational gap entails in the workplace, and how it is affecting the way leaders need to lead their teams so that companies can continue to achieve their goals.
Today, Millennials make up 30% of the world’s population. That percentage will continue to grow as the Boomers and the previous ‘Silent Generation’ die off.
Contrary to the opinions of the Baby Boomer and Generation X leaders, Millennials are very loyal. They have clear purposes for most everything they do. Purpose is another way of saying “Why.”
More than any other generation in history, Millennials are very in touch with their own value sets and why they do the things they do. More importantly, they want to work with and hang out with people that share their purpose. They want to work with organizations that have a clear purpose, values that align with their own, and do work that matters.
When most children, of any generation, are between the ages of two and six, they ask, on average, 27 questions per hour. Most of their questions begin with the word: “Why?”
The older education system, and older styles of parenting though, strip out a child’s desire to ask questions. By the time most children were 10 years old, the rate of questions they asked per hour had dropped to one!
Millennials though, have grown up in a world where their parents – always hovering overhead – encouraged their children to ask questions. As well, an education system that now inspires children to constantly be curious and ask questions, mainly due to the integration of internet and computers into the school systems (‘ask google’ is now a phrase common and known to all children, even in elementary school). This is why Millennials are so incredibly curious and ask so many questions, causing a very delineated generational gap. This is also why Millennials come to your workplace with a clear purpose and are in touch with their values.
Millennial team members often arrive at the workplace with massive university loans and expectations that they will be in a safe environment. Not only that, but they have the idea that they will, from day one, make a huge difference in the world around them, and be recognized for it.
They also come to work with no clear delineation between their work and personal life. As a Boomer, I started work at 8:00 and finished at 5:00. Work never came home with me. Generation X’ers changed that, and email at home became the new norm. With Millennials though, friends are very important and they want to be in touch with their networks all the time. This is a generation that will integrate their social life into their work life, and vice versa. That’s what you’ll often see Gen Y’s with Facebook or Twitter open on their work desktop, and getting email updates in the middle of the night.
Here is a simple table that sums up some of the key differences of the three main generations that we leaders have on our teams, and highlights some of the key traits that make up the generational gap…
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, partner at Incrementa Consulting Inc., #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.Baby Boomers, Business Culture, Change, Employee Engagement, Employee Retention, Gen X, Gen Y, Generational Gap, Intergenerational Teams, Leadership, Millenials, Team, Team Work, Values