Working with and managing millennials (currently those aged between the ages of 18-34) is considered a downright challenge, even as their numbers catch up with and exceed that of baby boomers (currently those between the ages of 51-69). Millennials now represent more than one-half of the workforce at any business.
Not only are they are seen as a challenge to many managers, but they’re regarded as utterly incomprehensible by a few because they generally require managers to take some effort to really understand and appreciate not just the employee, but the person. Additionally, their overwhelming wish to exist as free agents is claimed to be the overriding reason behind the growth of the gig economy.
In general, every human being wants to be included, trusted, valued, recognized and fairly compensated. They also want some amount of flexibility with their schedules so they can enjoy meaningful lives, both personally and professionally. Along with these characteristics, there are some outspoken authors who even claim that millennials are considered to enjoy a sense of entitlement, and are regarded as job hoppers. Instead of bestowing such negative and critical labels on people by just looking at their age, let’s try to understand the genuine characteristics of millennials and why they would want to be free agents.
Let us look at some unique characteristics of millennials, including the best way to deal with them in the workplace, in these days of declining tenures at a single workplace:
Today’s job market makes contingent workers of many of us, if we accept the definition that it is working for organizations on a non-permanent basis. Millennials embrace this fact because of the freedom, the work-life balance, the career development opportunities, marketability and other advantages they see in gig work.
It’s believed that a millennial could possibly change 10 jobs in 11 years. This shortness of job tenures may not be led by companies trying to avoid engaging permanent employees but by the millennials themselves who repeatedly switch jobs and move to better opportunities. They also voluntarily take up gigs, excited by the opportunity to pick up new skills or knowledge.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average tenure for millennials is three times shorter than for boomers, and it goes to confirm their reputation as free agents. To ensure success, businesses would be wise to recognize that and factor it into their human capital management strategy.
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