The behavior of “Millennials” on the labor market and why they need it to perform
It is becoming increasingly clear that employers have to adapt to the demands of younger generations. A study published in 2017, by the National Institute of Statistics, shows that, at the moment, the labor market contains mainly people from the age group between 35-44 years, followed by the younger generations. Therefore, in a few years, the labor market will be dominated by Generations Y and Z.
Before talking about the needs of a millennial, we need to describe his profile and try to understand it. In order to be part of the Millenials generation, a person must be born between 1984 and 1995 and have benefited from education and developmental conditions somewhere above the average age. It is generally perceived by previous generations as “lazy, selfish and lacking in the long term”.
To test the perspective of a Millennial, we need to see exactly where he learned the traits with which he is characterized. He grew up, most likely, in a “cooler” environment, parents being concerned about ensuring material conditions for the family, a result of life short of their own childhood. For them, the values and the vision on life were largely dominated by work in order to obtain better living conditions. As a result, children of this generation have accumulated a lack of attention and a lack of parental models. After the birth of a child, the parents returned to the workplace much earlier than they did today, and the youngest spent his first years of life in the nursery, kindergarten, grandparents or neighbors. His parents recovered late at night. Some were lucky enough to have grandparents nearby, their involvement being total, but also a bit anachronistic.
Millennial parents wanted to give their children access to “everything is better” because they have “suffered enough” in their own childhood/youth. From the countless schools and the most diverse courses, to the current toys and gadgets, it was the predominant way of expressing their affection. Unfortunately, almost alone. Neglecting the emotional needs of children, parents transformed into providers of goods and services have circumvented what we all know today: children, especially in the first years of life, assimilate feelings and emotions with their parents, they cannot be replaced by emotional goods or surrogates, and the absence is felt even after they have become active adults in the society. This style of parenting has transformed young millenials into qualified people, who have learned a foreign language from at a young age, at least practiced a sport or learned a musical instrument, but who, at the same time, are strongly emotional generated by the lack of parents too busy.
Therefore, this generation, relatively skilled in terms of professional performance, comes to the pack with the desire to avoid the mistakes of parents. Hence their need to have a flexible program, to enable an active social or family life and, preferably, not to work so as to exhaust their energy resources to the detriment of private life. In addition, growing in the information age, millennials have been exposed to small details about life in more and less developed countries, they have seen that it may and may not (better or worse), what kind of problems should be avoided for not to be adversely affected. Somehow, their characteristic skepticism is drawn from this area. By having access to information, they are documented more before they form an opinion and are pleased to have conflicting discussions on any topic. These young people are not content to work for the sake of work, they want more from life than to have enough money for the necessities in the house and for a modest family vacation. They seek to compensate for what they have been missing since they were young and, therefore, they want to feel appreciated and fulfilled at work and in society.
Their skeptical and skeptical mind sees quickly through the standardized methods of motivation used by employers, and these do not reach the expected effect. The employer may have to customize them for a particular team or for a precious employee. Avoiding this formula can be considered one of the main reasons why there are such large fluctuations in the labor market, for the respective age category. If, in the past, people used to stay for decades in the same professional position, today’s young people need dynamics, they need to feel that they are constantly evolving. This need can be met by obtaining an individual development plan within the company, receiving certain benefits such as specialization in a particular field or a foreign language, finding hobbies in the extra-professional activities promoted by the employer. Sometimes, it is enough to change the name of the position the employee was in and you can see a change in his attitude and behavior in the workplace.
This new lifestyle destabilizes many companies of small or medium size and that do not have a profile that allows the motivation and development of the young staff. The security, cleaning, construction, facility management, hotels, restaurants, companies that distribute FMGC products and not only face the problem of increased staff turnover. It is becoming more and more difficult for an employee to remain in a position from which there is no possibility of promoting or growing in any way. The main reason is that the current labor force is gradually being replaced by people of this generation and employers are largely unable to adapt. These static positions can reach and perform people who are satisfied to do the minimum necessary and to get involved as little as possible. Possible solutions to this problem could be that the young people also receive the role of “brand ambassador” or receive work and protection equipment that will position them socially (through the appearance of valuable companies). Also, possible bonuses depending on the performance or be rewarded for the new employees they attract within the company, as well as the classic personal development trainings. All this done in a partnership environment in which the young person understands his role and actively contributes to the development of the business. In addition, the effort must also be directed to the existing staff, the phrase “in my time” was done in one way or another, and had to disappear. The needs of any company are heading towards the future and adapting to it makes them viable or not. Obviously, these changes involve certain costs that many companies do not allow and which they are also reluctant to do. However, in the medium and long term, a well-connected team, which is involved at the business level (and not at the job description) will always have other returns and will deliver much better results.
Millennials are much more aware of the transactional side of the hiring process compared to previous generations. For them, an interview is not just a tool by which they can “sell” and accept the job that pays more. During the interview, they are interested to find out as much about the company itself, which is the real atmosphere within it and then make a decision based on several factors: salary, flexibility, benefits, the workplace environment and employer branding. Thus, some of them are in relatively poorly paid positions, only to pass on the name of a large company later, not infrequently dreaming of their own business. Others prefer to invest their parents’ time and money in a passion or project of their own, thus setting up a start-up, despite the fact that they would have received a somewhat safer salary within a company.
Millenials appreciate managers’ openness to new ideas, prefer someone to guide them, not supervise them, prefer colleagues and superiors hierarchically to act as mentors, rather than imposing certain rules that are difficult to understand / accept or have an attitude of permanent superiority. They must be clearly explained their role in the organization, why they are important and why it is essential for the organization to be successful, what are its objectives and what is the development plan. It is very important to explain the outcome of a process and its importance, somewhat to the detriment of what happens today, when the method dims creativity. It is important to trust the superiors and the strengths of the company, because when they make a mistake they know that they will receive the support to repair it and that they will learn some of it. Currently, the tendency of managers is to punish the employee for the mistake made, so that the employee is “scared” of a possible repetition. The intellectual level of the new generations, however, allows an approach based on understanding the hero and his implications. The likelihood of a repeat error decreases, and the chances of retaining an employee who has understood where and why they should not go bigger, the company has to gain from this approach. If an employee has an environment conducive to growth, the success of the company he works for is predictable. Millennials need leaders to coordinate them, with authority gaining new content in the age of easily accessible information.
The main problem of the employers is to accept the need to model their own working methods according to the needs and requirements of the new generations, instead of the much more difficult and inefficient adaptation of the young millenials to the rigid procedures that have worked in the past. The reasons why this has to happen are simple and have economic value: the employees of the new generations can bring important benefits to the company, mainly through their creativity and the desire to develop in a humanized environment, at the same time, being an inexpensive resource