Millennials Replacing Baby Boomer Workforce: Meeting Their Unique Needs

Big changes are occurring in the current workforce.  The dynamic is shifting as companies are experiencing a shift toward millennials replacing baby boomer generations. According to Harvard Business Review /HBR.org, “The makeup of the global workforce is undergoing a seismic shift: In four years Millennials—the people born between 1977 and 1997—will account for nearly half the employees in the world. In some companies, they already constitute a majority.” 

The book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, addresses the unique personalities and needs of the post-boomer worker.  For simplicity sake, these post-boomer generations are given the title NewGens.  It can get confusing when Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials and other titles are used.  The term NewGens encompasses all of these groups. 

Post-boomer generations have received a bad reputation at times due to their need for immediate gratification.  Perhaps they are different but different isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many have high expectations but are willing to put forth the efforts it takes to achieve their goals. HBR.org reported, “Millennials have high expectations of their employers—but they also set high standards for themselves. They’ve been working on their résumés practically since they were toddlers, because there are so many of them and so few (relatively speaking) spots at top schools and top companies. They’re used to overachieving academically and to making strong personal commitments to community service. Keep them engaged, and they will be happy to overachieve for you.”

image via hbr.org

This new group of employees has considerable knowledge that can be crucial for a company’s success.  Younger generations, unlike the boomer generation, tend to move around in their jobs more often.  They are less likely to remain in a single company throughout their career. 

Are companies doing enough to keep their current employees happy?  Workforce.com stated the following about the millennial generation, “Large companies don’t move fast enough for that generation, which is [switching employers and] looking to expose themselves to new and different things. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the average American will have 10.8 jobs from age 18 to 42. Many workers have clung to their jobs amid the recession and high unemployment. Still, the overall turnover rate across all industries was 16.3 percent in 2009, according to a survey from Compdata.”

Part of keeping this younger generation interested in staying at their current position is to keep their attention.   Training must be aimed at their specific needs.  This is a technology-based group that likes to learn that way.  They also like to receive their information quickly.  Shorter, 3-5 minute training videos, can be effective.  This is the YouTube generation and employers must realize this and keep up with the trends. 

Aimglobal.org suggests the following guidelines for employers when dealing with millennial workers:

Ø Training. If you want a job well done, employers need to tell Millennials how to do it. However, don’t just give orders. Millennials want to know the reasoning behind them and the training offered to be successful.

Ø Mentoring. Partner your new Millennial with one of your veterans. The veteran can show the newcomer the ropes and conversely the newcomer can offer fresh ideas.

Ø Integration. Involve Millennials in a variety of projects, assignments, and career opportunities. Mixing it up keeps their interest.

Ø Team Collaboration. Millennials are comfortable in team settings. They like to collaborate with others especially on team-based projects and environments.

Ø Support Future Pursuits. During their employment at your company, Millennials will face decisions regarding the next stage of their lives including marriage, buying a house, having children, etc. Developing a guidance program around these changes demonstrates how your company will be there to support them.

For more complete information on post-boomer generations in the workplace and how to deal with their unique personality needs, click here

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