3 ways Millennials are different and why this matters to your organization

In this post I’m going to highlight 3 big ways in which Millennials differ from previous generations, and why this matters to organizations like yours. I’ll explore this in more detail in a webinar I’m co-hosting on the 20th August (16:00 BST).

1. The Internet

Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the internet.

They had access to the internet at school, and probably in their home too. To them, pretty much anything they need to know is google-able, but with so much information available, they increasingly rely on social networks to identify what really matters. Their education and entertainment is intertwined through consuming videos on YouTube, reading blogs, and attending virtual events. When socializing, there are no boundaries of geography or time – they can nurture relationships with over a hundred ‘pen pals’ all over the world in one afternoon.

Why this matters to your organization:

Your top Millennial talent will expect unlimited internet access so that they can be the best they can be. They expect to be able to use video sites and social media to research and find the answers they need. They expect to be able to use (and install) their preferred tools, and be trusted to achieve the objectives they are set.

They don’t want to hear poor reasons why their job is made more difficult through site blockers or usage policies. They don’t want to be expected to work in a bubble or even within the confines of a small team. They don’t want to fulfil the role of ‘IT support’ to their managers, when they feel they do the job better or faster themselves. They don’t want to be forced to consume learning materials that are lower quality or less entertaining that other freely available resources on the internet.

2. ‘Well rounded’ development

Millennials have been educated by their parents more than any previous generation. Not particularly in academic subjects (although that may be true too), but in the areas of ’emotional intelligence’ and ‘soft skills’.

They have been encouraged to attend (and then transported to and from) pre & post school clubs that cater to a wide variety of interests. Whether they were interested in Acting, Chess, Cricket, Guitar, or learning Japanese, there was a club they could join. They became part of multiple communities and learned how to relate to other people effectively.

They’ve been told by schools and careers advisors to ensure they are ‘well rounded’ and that university applications with ‘straight As’ are not enough – they must demonstrate their other competencies via extra curricular activities such as charity work, team sports, and the ‘Duke of Edinburgh award’ (in the UK).

Why this matters to your organization:
Millennials understand that skills & capabilities are more important that knowledge. As a result, they expect management and L&D support to help them identify the areas they need to focus on, address these areas, collect feedback on the impact and repeat the process.

They expect that lines between being ‘at work’, ‘working from home’, and ‘learning’ are blurred and expect fair, flexible and supportive approaches to how they will learn and work best. They also expect to be part of groups of interest and to contribute meaningfully, rather than be considered a member of the audience.

3. Personal technology (including mobiles)

Millennials are also the first generation to grow up with their own devices (laptops, tablets etc), and mobile phones becoming common for most children.

They are used to being available to anyone at any time, regardless of where they are. They have increased the number of devices they own and carry to cover a wide range of functions including note-taking, emailing, video calls, photography, navigation, translation, education, and entertainment.

Why this matters to your organization:
Millennials expect to be able to do most of what they can do on a work computer on mobile devices and their home computers (and vice versa). They expect to be able to continue learning and working outside the office, accessing content on the their mobile devices and at home.

There are lots of others ways in which the period Millennials grew up impacts their expectations and capabilities in the world of work. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

About The Author

Alexis Kingsbury

Alexis is founder of the Parentpreneur Accelerator and Making Greatness Ltd. He is a serial entrepreneur, with experience creating start-ups in a variety of areas, particularly in SaaS and EdTech. He is also a lucky husband and proud dad, and now helps other 'parentpreneurs' like him to achieve their dreams of having successful businesses, making a difference in the world, and spending time with the people they love.

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