How we do business has changed significantly over the past 10 years.
International travel is common, the working day and indeed week has morphed and evolved and technology means we are contactable and ultimately ‘on call’ 24-7. Baby boomers have somewhat accepted this and to an extent created this environment in which we operate but there’s now a revolution afoot. Millennials and Generation Z aren’t lying down and accepting this as the norm. They are standing up and challenging business culture and behaviour.
Businesses today are faced with an increasingly expectant workforce. Millennials hold approximately 20 percent of leadership roles, a figure which is only set to rise. There are no two ways about it, millennials are wholly different from their baby-boomer predecessors. Millennial leaders prioritise people and hold values; both personal and business close to their heart and will make decisions based on these. Millennials aren’t motivated by achieving Director level by the age of 30 and the title of CEO means nothing. What they value most is development (personal and professional), feedback, collaboration, flexibility, and work-life balance. Workers no longer strive to pay off the mortgage, instead, they aim for new and exciting holidays, the chance to take a sabbatical to volunteer in Syria or trek the Himalayas.
And don’t be fooled by their somewhat ‘softer’ nature. Millennials are fixed and committed to their convictions and won’t hesitate to leave a seemingly good, well-paid job for a job with a lesser salary, with more perks and benefits. A survey carried out by Cone Communications showed that 75% of millennials would take a pay cut to go and work for a more responsible company, compared with 55% average across all ages. Interestingly, almost two-thirds would point-blank refuse to accept a job from an employer that didn’t have strong CSR practices.
This profound interest in CSR among millennials has benefits for businesses and organisations and shouldn’t be scoffed at. A company with strong CSR practices can use these to its advantage and promote them when looking to attract and retain the very best talent. The same Cone research shows that employees want to work for a company they are proud of and have no qualms about sharing stories and photos on their personal social media channels (76%) promoting their employer, compared with an average of 52% across all age groups.
For millennials, social media is an important window into their world, which allows them to portray their values, beliefs, experiences, and emotions. Millennials want to know they’ve made an impact on the world and a key place for them to achieve this is now the workplace.
By the same token, millennials expect more from any workplace wellness programme – a fruit box and gym membership won’t cut it anymore. It’s all about personalisation and ensuring your offer is technology-led. Almost 50% of millennials check their phone 50 times a day and see email as passé. Therefore, if your offering isn’t technology-led or mobile-enabled it doesn’t exist for this group of workers. Millennials appreciate and crave support and development. Therefore, help guide, educate, and support them to make healthier choices but give them different options and allow them to drive the final decision.
We are entering a new era. This group of people is going to define a new style of leadership and a new way of doing business – it’s exciting and we look forward to the next few years.