In spite of what many people say, the Millennials are making a positive impact on not only our generation but all of the generations of the last century. This is most evident in today’s organizations and their workplaces. And, this is good. The Millennials are needed to simplify a business ecosystem that is growing entirely too complex and estranged from those who work in them. The Millennials–the oldest are now entering their thirties while the youngest are about to become teenagers–are making a clear statement as to what our organizations must be like if they are going to commit a major segment of their lives to its success.
The Millennials expect to be part of something worthwhile, something they can be proud of. They want to engage in something that makes them feel good after a hard day’s work, and to learn things that are important to them now and in the future.
The Millennials expect the organizations they work with to:
- Take care of the environment,
- Support the community,
- Treat everyone well, and
- Do good.
They expect leaders who:
- Establish and maintain high values,
- Demonstrate proper behaviors,
- Involve others in the setting and achieving goals,
- Create and fulfill a brand promise that they believe in, and
- Enjoy what they do and bring that passion to the organization.
So what is different between the Millennials and the other generations? Let’s look at a simplified chart of the last five generations.
Corporate Culture By Generation
Years Generation Name Dominant Corporate Culture Type
1901 – 1925 the Greatest Generation Hierarchal – military command and control
1926 – 1945 the Depression/War Babies Hierarchal – military command and control
1946 – 1965 the Baby Boomers Clan – family, team, Japanese style management
1966 – 1985 the Gen Xers Market – market/customer/data analytics
1986 – 2005 the Millennials (Generation Y) Adhocracy – innovation in everything
If my anecdotal evidence is correct, as each generation entered the work place they challenged the Dominant Corporate Culture (their values in words, behaviors, and icons) and adopted a different one, but based on what they had learned from those who had gone before them. Hence, the Baby Boomers broke with tradition to adopt the Japanese management style as a better option than the hierarchal style of the War Babies; the Gen Xers became market/customer focused and defined the customer experience, and the Millennials are trending towards adhocracy to feed their need to be different than all of the preceding generations.
The timing couldn’t be better. Never before have we needed the “out-of-the-box” thinkers to simplify our world, solve the nuances of globalization, and create a truly civilized world. It may be hard for some of us to accept this but like so many new and different things we don’t realize how change is occurring, even if we were in the middle of it.
As the Millennials entered the work force they brought with them a strong desire for a meaningful culture within the organizations they are willing to commit to. This desire comes from their parents, the Gen Xers. The formula to attract and retain the Millennials is clear; develop a strong culture, enlist authentic leaders, create a meaningful brand, engage the stakeholders (including employees and customers), treat everyone fairly, and provide a safe work environment. In reality, the Millennials are not asking for anymore that what the previous generations were hoping for, a great place to work.
Next: The Millennials and the NOW Generation