According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, within 10 years, 75 million people will account for approximately half of the U.S. workforce. Who are these people that will take over your businesses? We are. We’re the millennials everyone has been talking about, rather than talking with.
As a millennial in the modern workplace, I quickly became frustrated with the stereotypes thrown my direction. Harsh assumptions made me question myself and my business decisions. I was scared to let my guard down, build meaningful relationships with my team, and speak up when I had a great idea.
I became fearful that I was perceived as lazy, entitled, and inexperienced.
Out of fear, I dove headfirst into my work. I over-committed my time to complete projects, which caused me to miss deadlines. I hated being in the office and I lacked clear and effective communication with my team. Ironically, by trying to break millennial stereotypes, I validated them. I felt empty and I lost sight of the purpose in my job. Just like many business owners and leaders today, I failed to see my strengths as a millennial.
If you find yourself struggling to see the positive effects millennials can have on your business, consider the following:
- Work-Life Innovation: We live in a different time than many business owners and leaders before us. We have access to the internet at our fingertips, at all times, and we utilize it as much as we can. Rather than the stereotypical business hours of nine to five, allow your millennial employees to work when and where they are at their best. Although it’s a common fear among businesses that we’re not working at all, that’s not the case. We work differently than the generations before us. We thrive with the autonomy of being able to work where we feel most productive. At the end of the day, it benefits your organization’s productivity. My boss brings most of his ideas to me after business hours; it’s exciting that we can collaborate using an innovative approach to how we communicate and work together.
- Delegating Weaknesses: As much as my ego hates to admit it, there are aspects of my position that I am just not good at (yes, that still stings a bit). Detail orientation and managing projects are not my strengths; it’s okay if your millennials aren’t good at everything either. We’re human, just like you. After communicating this to my team, I was given the opportunity to delegate my weaknesses so I could hone in on my strengths. With that, I was able to produce quality work on time, and build stronger relationships with my team members.
Regardless of your views on millennials, this is not an aspect of your business you can afford to ignore. As each year comes to a close, the millennial workforce will continue to grow by the millions.