Generations in the Workplace: Where do Millennials Fit?

Posted by Carolina Christiansen on 3/1/17 12:00 PM


The workforce is changing, deeply and at a fast pace.

When you are in recruiting, you see trends. Traditionalists are old school, Baby Boomers are getting close to retirement, Generation Xers are out to prove themselves by getting a Master degree and maybe even a PhD, Millennials are changing existent paradigms and iGeners are slowly coming in with resistance and hesitation.

Companies are being faced with an unprecedented challenge: having up to 5 generations working side by side in their workforce. Each generation brings different values, opinions, priorities and work styles to the table. The fact that Traditionalists and Baby Boomers are living longer, that some of them are not able to retire, and/or that many of them want to keep working, leads to more generations in a single work space.

This, of course, comes back onto organizational leaders. They need to be able to communicate, understand, motivate, lead, guide, train and retain four or five generations at the same time. Many organizational leaders may not have this skillset naturally, but luckily it is a skillset they can develop through learning and a lot of practice.

On one hand, leadership will have to interact with Traditionalists and Baby Boomers, who are not afraid to work extra hours if the job requires it, who have a strong work ethic, who are independent and self-assured, who are competitive and goal centric, who are resourceful and team oriented and who, above all, are very disciplined. On the other hand, leadership will have to interact with Millennials and recently with iGeners, who have grown-up in a fully digital era, who may seem self-centered and self-involved, who want “to make an impact”, who are becoming the most educated generations, who are technologically savvy, who live for social media, who are civic-oriented, idealistic, entrepreneurs, progressive; who are results oriented and who, above all, are impatient.

Now, why does this matter? In a few years (5 to 10 according to “Your Guide to Hiring Millennials” LinkedIn Talent Blog), nearly half of the workforce in the world will be formed by Millennials, and Companies are starting to concentrate more on the best methods to recruit and retain them. For starters, Millennials are less motivated by career advancement and more by personal values and aspirations, therefore, they are less attracted by the traditional Corporate World, seeking other options, such as starting their own businesses, especially if they cannot find a workplace that fits their needs, personal values and that gives them the freedom that they are after.

Millennials are family oriented in a way that previous generations are not, both men and women want a work/life balance. They are extremely interested in having a personal life beyond work. They are looking for a workplace where they can be true to themselves. Noticing at an early age that hard work and a good education do not necessarily lead to job security, they choose their family and personal responsibilities and aspirations over professional goals, according to the “2017 North American Staffing & Recruiting Trends Report” by Bullhorn.

This generation desires professional recognition, making them less willing to endure unpleasant job conditions, leading them to move on to a new job or company in order to achieve career success. They expect instant respect and recognition and thrive in a relationship-oriented work environment.

As leaders at Lewis Fowler, we recognize that creating an environment that “works” for all of our employees is an important responsibility.  Over time, we have been adapting our culture and have been successful in recruiting and hiring Millennial employees. Our team is consistently looking for ways to leverage the key strengths of individuals to bring a creative vision to our clients. 

Here are some of our top thoughts on retaining Millennials:

  • Let Millennials know that their work matters.
  • Provide flexible work arrangements for both men and women to spend more time with their families.
  • Offer parental leave in a way that both parents feel their jobs are secure.
  • Take an interest in the individual’s career aspirations.
  • Create a “work family” that engenders loyalty to the company.
  • Create multiple paths and timeframes for individuals to reach leadership positions.
  • Create an inspiring office environment.
  • Think differently about company perks.

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Topics: Consultant Recruiting, HR Transformation, Change Management