Relating to millennials: Understand them, adapt to them, win them

October 29, 2018

by Nancy Boas


“2018 is the year of working smarter, not harder.”

This is how Inc. opened an article written by Candice Galek on understanding millennials in the workplace. A millennial herself, Galek writes from the perspective of collaboration rather than confrontation with the “disrupt everything” generation. The workplace can’t become a battleground between a generation that conceives work as rigid and predictable, and one that fits work into a much larger life plan they have traced for themselves.

Millennials want to have their cake and eat it too. Because they have practically taken over managerial positions all the way down to new entrants, this attitude is here to stay. And companies, especially those employing people by the hour, need to adapt to the new generational reality. In her Inc. article, Candice Galek puts it brilliantly:

“I understand that in managing Millennials I have to offer a flexible work schedule to accommodate their juggling act of responsibilities, such as continuing their education and pursuing entrepreneurial side projects. All employees have different skill sets to offer and work at differing paces, so if in 2018 you’re blanketing how you expect your coworkers to perform, you may be setting yourself up for failure.”

Attitude comes with valuable gifts

Attitude is not always a bad thing. Millennials’ attitude comes with the great gifts that this generation has to offer and from which companies can benefit. First, millennials are really good with technology, and therefore, new technologies that you want to adopt and implement will be championed and put into action quickly.

Millennials adapt more quickly than other generations.  As Inc. wrote, “millennials are known for their skills in problem solving, technology use and management, and teamwork.” All of these skills  translate into growth opportunities for those companies which can attract and retain this contrarian generation.

Finally, millennials focus their energetic personalities on creating a place for themselves in the world. Millennials will not remain in jobs if they feel like their contributions   are meaningless. Companies who understand this have embraced the experience economy (see our recent article on The Experience Economy here) as a way to give millennials meaning though their work: you are here to make our customers feel happy and fulfilled.

“Millennial-proof” Technology

“A flexible work schedule to accommodate their juggling act of responsibilities,” as Galek wrote regarding millennials, is only possible with the application of technology, specifically through the use of Artificial Intelligence. This is because for millennial hourly workers, “flexible” means freedom to manage their day. This freedom only comes with predictability and certainty, which, using the traditional ways to schedule, contradicts flexibility. When you schedule using an excel spreadsheet, email and memory, you simply  cannot offer much flexibility and still manage the process.

In contrast, when you use AI to support managers, who  are also millennials, – the meaningless task of coordinating weekly schedules becomes additional time spent with their customers and teams. AI, such as the one powering Legion, can find the best match between millennials’ skills, schedule  preferences, customer demands, and your business goals. When this technology is packaged in the mobile app format that millennials have grown up with, the need for inefficient calls, texts, and emails with their managers suddenly disappears and suddenly you have an attractive working environment for millennials and a magic formula for attracting and retaining top talent.

Three points to remember:

  • Millennials’ attitude comes with amazing gifts which can benefit your organization like familiarity with technology, minds designed for problem-solving, and a desire for meaningful work.
  • Smart technology – such as AI – can help you create a work environment that is a magnet for the flexibility and control which millennials crave.
  • Your entire workplace will be transformed by this generation, whether you like it or not.

Photo under license of Shutterstock

Here is how you can relate to your millennial employees with Legion.