In case you missed it there are battle lines being drawn in the modern workplace. Boomers and Millennials are being positioned as oil and water – two generations that just can’t seem to communicate with each other. This is a big deal for any level of management, Millennials will make up more than half the workforce by 2020.
Both sides are turning to Generation X to bridge the gap, but demanding a translator keep the communication going only slows things down … and doesn’t always deliver the message exactly as presented.
So how can Boomer managers get the most from their Millennial staff members? How can they keep them not just on the job but happy to come to work on a day to day basis? While there’s no foolproof potion or magic spell, and everyone is different, there are a few guidelines that can help older managers alter their thinking to better communicate with younger workers.
Millennials are thinking more about career advancement than they are about job security. Remember, younger workers came up in a time where the average person had 13 jobs by the age of 35. There never expected anything like 30 years and a gold watch, because that just seems impossible in today’s business climate. With that as a foundation, Millennials are more focused on job satisfaction than their elder peers, and they are more apt to up and quit if they see another opportunity on the horizon.
Boomers may see this as a betrayal, as a lack of commitment to the business, but Millennials see it as a logical response to business conditions beyond their control. After all, why stick around if you won’t be there in a few years anyway?
The days of the expected grind are all but over. Familial roles have changed. The days when Dad worked while Mom stayed home are long gone. Millennials know they will likely both be working – by choice or by necessity – and they expect their jobs to accommodate their family needs and relationships. When surveyed, 6 out of 10 Millennials would quit their jobs if offered a similar position at a company with a more family friendly policy. Perks like flexible schedules and on-site childcare are a big deal to a Millennial society.
Compensation matters too, but it’s not always about money. The up and coming generation has a different value system than their parents and grandparents. They still like money and stuff, but they see time and experiences as equally important. Remember that when you’re building a work plan for your team.
Chris Burch is a venture capitalist and founder of Burch Creative Capital.