By 2025 millennials (the generation born between 1980 and 2000) will make up 75% of the world’s working population.
Millennials are known for a lot of things. Some consider this generation as hard-headed, self-centered and irresponsible. There are people who think that millennials are born to be lazy and dependent on technology. These misconceptions create conflicts and they make understanding millennials more difficult.
A look at the numbers suggests that many of the traits attributed to millennials are related to prevailing economic conditions rather than to fundamental differences in their aspirations.
Poor, mismatched job prospects, as well as a faster paced and dynamic economy, mean that a sizable portion of the millennial generation has started out with distinct disadvantages. A better understanding of how external factors are affecting the timing of millennials’ growth can help us craft programs to address the needs of this challenging group.
Millennials really do want to accomplish great things and contribute to the Kenyan economy. It’s in our best interest to support those goals and leverage their strengths.
Millennials are the most connected generation in history and thus diverse collaborators. Junior millennials are very adept at technology. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a daily part of their life — and work, as well. They simply cannot conceive of an unconnected life: so much so that up to 56% of millennials would turn down a job that denied them access to social networks. They are tech savvy, collaborative, innovative, connected and resourceful. This is a strong set of attributes that fits well into the current dynamic work places, market places and communities.
Instead of believing the myth that millennials are fundamentally harder to recruit, engage, and retain than other generations, organizations can leverage a more sophisticated understanding of millennials to improve performance on key workforce indicators.
We can start in 2 simple ways:
- Provide leadership and guidance. Millennials want to look up to us, learn from us, and receive feedback from us. Plan to spend a lot of time teaching and coaching and be aware of this commitment to millennials when you hire them.
- Encourage the millennial’s self-assuredness, “can-do” attitude, and positive personal self-image. Millennials are ready to take on the world. Their parents told them they can do it—and they can. Encourage—don’t squash them or contain them. They’re always looking to provide input and ideas. Encourage them to voice their thoughts and opinions.
Millennials are now starting families — or starting to think about it — in the face of an economy that hasn’t grown strongly in more than a decade.
All in all, in many ways, millennials are behaving just as they might be expected to, given the economic circumstances under which they came of age. It befits society to better understand this generation and the various life goals to which they aspire, and craft tailored interventions aimed at engaging this vital segment of the workforce.