News & Legal Updates
Sign up to news & legal updates
Millennial: born between 1982 and 1995, millennial is the term used to describe the next generation of workers.
What are millennials?
Millennials are the new breed of worker. They think differently from any other type of worker. They are well educated, highly skilled in technology, very self-confident and have plenty of energy. They have grown up in a time of mobile phones, internet chat, multiculturalism and where the focus is on an individual’s rights rather than an individual’s responsibilities. There are over 80 million of them, which is larger than any other generation. By 2025, millennials will form 75% of our workforce.
Why should I care about millennials?
Employers can no longer expect to retain their workers for 10 to 20 years. Instead research suggests that millennials will not stay in the same job for longer than three years. Therefore if you do wish to cultivate and retain your existing millennials, it will be important to encourage and motivate them in an attempt to continue to utilise their unique skillset and viewpoints within your organisation.
Tips to manage millennials
Give them your gadgets: Millennials are not social media savvy – they’re social media sophisticated! They have grown up in a time when communication with peers comes through the forum of social media. They are the masters of digital communication and employers should utilise these talents whenever possible. Rather than giving your senior managers the latest forms of workplace gadget, give them to your millennials. They are much more likely to be able to find the benefit in new technology much quicker than your senior managers and, if asked, will likely educate the rest of your workforce as to the pros and cons of the latest gadgets.
Encourage creativity: Millennials have grown up in a time where information is readily available at the touch of a button. They are accustomed to being able to get instant answers to difficult questions from google or Wikipedia. For this reason, they don’t get the same satisfaction from cross-referencing hundreds of authorities, eliminating secondary arguments and identifying the ultimate answer. Instead they find a greater satisfaction from creativity and they should be encouraged to use their creative skills to problem-solve real-life issues. This is more likely to stimulate their interest and therefore harness their potential.
Form a team, as opposed to an army: Unlike previous generations before them, millennials are not accustomed to the workplace chain of command or company hierarchy. Millennials don’t care about ranking, nor do they have an automatic respect for their senior colleagues. Most millennials will dislike workplace conflict so instead of drilling respect into a hierarchical army, try strengthening a team. If you can encourage your millennials to play a role in the team, they are more likely to be fulfilled in the workplace and work harder, better, faster, stronger.
Regular reviews: Annual reviews are not effective with millennials. They need more regular feedback. They dislike fake compliments like “perfect” or “good job”. Instead they want direct criticism on why they are wrong and where they can improve. Indeed millennials have a strong desire to please and, if any shortfalls are addressed in a direct manner, this can only prove worthwhile for your company.
Harness your inner Harvey Specter: Millennials are very, very stubborn and when something displeases them, they find it difficult to tell anyone other than their trusted few. Normally their concerns are valid and, for this reason, a trusted relationship with their manager is essential if you want to hear these concerns. Frequently the best managers of millennials are the ones who hold the same values and viewpoints as them. If millennials are placed with managers who they trust, their loyalty should never be doubted. As Harvey Specter famously stated, “Loyalty is a two-way street. If I’m asking for it from you, then you’re getting it from me.”
And remember that millennials will often speak a different language to you. When they say, “That’s interesting, Si”, they mean, “Stop talking, Simon, this conversation is boring me and I want it to stop right now.” And when they say, “You’re right, Si”, they mean, “Stop lecturing, Simon, this conversation is boring me and I want it to stop right now.” And when they say, “Stop stirring, Si”, they mean, “Stop winding me up, Simon, this conversation is boring me and …” (you get the picture)
Commentators suggest that millennials are often entitled, impatient and have a limited ability to take criticism. I would disagree. In my experience, millennials are adaptable, contemplative and offer a new, exciting perspective to the workplace. Millennials are our future leaders.
So if you want to manage your millennials effectively, re-think the way in which you deal with them and accept that a different work ethic is not necessarily the wrong work ethic. Oh and, if you haven’t already done so, learn to speak emoji. It is, after all, the fastest growing language of the millennials!
Partner – Head of Employment Law
The opinions expressed in this site are of the author(s) only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.
Blackadders takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the content of this site is accurate and up to date. The site is not, however, intended as a substitute for seeking legal or other professional advice but rather as an informative guide to the services provided by Blackadders and topical legal developments. Site visitors should always seek advice tailored to their specific situation. Consequently, Blackadders accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by anyone acting or failing to act on the basis of information contained on this site. Downloading of material contained on this site is at the user’s own risk and all necessary virus checks must first be carried out by the user. Blackadders is not responsible for the material found on any web sites linked to this one and links to this site may only be made with Blackadders prior consent.
Blackadders owns the copyright in this blog and all material contained on it. The material on this site may be downloaded for personal use only and must not be altered. Otherwise, Blackadders’ written consent is required before any material on this site is reproduced, copied or transmitted in any way.
Information passed to us via this site is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties except if authorised by you or required by law.
© Blackadders LLP 2021
Members of the Law Society of Scotland.
Blackadders Solicitors is a trading name of Blackadders LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in Scotland No SO301600 whose registered office is 30 & 34 Reform Street, Dundee, DD1 1RJ. Reference to a ‘partner’ is to a member of Blackadders LLP.Back to News & Legal Updates