The moment we all feared is finally here. The last of the Millennial Generation is entering the workplace and Gen Z is rising up fast behind them.
In fact, this year, Gen Z is predicted to surpass the Millennial population, with the two generations combined making up 60% of the world’s total population.
Millennials Aren’t Special
Regardless of what generation you are a part of, there’s no denying the Millennials have been a media obsession and the butt end of jokes for the past few decades. Despite the constant coverage, science actually states that the Millennial Generation acts almost exactly the same in their 20s and 30s as every generation before did in their 20s and 30s. Sounds fake, but it makes sense. In some cases, Millennials are even less radical in their young adulthood than their generational counterparts — yes, that statement is directed to you, Boomers.
Considering their size and rise of technology, Millennials quickly became a hyper-sensationalized topic. So much so that there are over 17 billion Google results for articles on industries that Millennials are supposedly responsible for “killing.” So, the Y2K panic that settled in surrounding how Millennials will change the workplace was no surprise.
Starting in the early 2000s, the new Millennials found themselves entering a workforce of stigma and predisposed hatred. The media spent a decade painting a dystopian future of human-turned-robots drooling at a desk surrounded by screens, unable to engage in the present around them. Even movies perpetuated the idea of Millennials bringing selfish, lazy, and impractical attitudes to every industry with big silver screen titles like “The Intern” and “The Internship.”
The Millennial Dream
The reality of the situation is that Millennials crave the same that everyone else did at their age: love, purpose, and meaning in their work.
With technology, Millennials had the means to successfully pursue those values.
For previous generations, change on a massive scale was often an insurmountable institution. Voicing a desire to work in an office that reflected the same values and morals of the employee was the same as wishing on a star: spoken words sent into a void without any course of action.
The Millennial dream isn’t an original idea. People searching for purpose in their lives and meaning in their work make up the primary storylines of human existence.
Maybe it was the technology, maybe it was the size of their generation or a combination of both but Millennials took their simple little dream and radicalized the world. They went on to challenge the mold of consumerism, communication, and capitalism.
Ultimately, what the younger generation is seeking isn’t radical at all. In fact, studies show that their goals align with the same goals as their older colleagues. A working Millennial is looking for the following in a career:
- Personal connection
In exchange, the workplace “babies” are bringing once rare skills to the table. These young digital immigrants and digital natives thrive in environments that allow for collaborative teamwork and emphasize goals.
Their “Carpe Diem” attitude means they will pursue a job and purpose that meets their criteria without fear of floating from job to job until they’ve found success — however they choose to define that word for themselves. Today’s society allows Millennials to follow their prerogative of a higher purpose, rewarding the office environments that make proper treatment of their employees a central objective of their process.
You Get What You Pay For
As an employer ourselves, we suggest embracing a Millennial perspective in the office. As the classic saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” If you are paying minimum wage, it shouldn’t be surprising to receive minimum effort from your employees in return. Millennials have shown that they are masters of the figurative two-way street. In a trade of goods and services, Millennials are firm in trading in terms of equal or greater value.
Gone are the days when authority and promises were viable options for compensation. In the face of rising living costs but stagnant wage prices, this generation and the one following will be prioritizing how to live sustainably without compromising their ideals. This means that workplaces will need to start prioritizing benefits, flexibility, community, and interestingly enough, collaborative office spaces.
How To Evolve
Because teamwork and technology are two of the most words in a Millennial’s work experience vocabulary, your office should be equipped to entertain both of those comfortably. Here at Fractal, we have created several options for office plans that capitalize on how Millennials and younger generations work best.
Maximizing your workspace to best meet your employees’ needs and wants is a smart move for today’s workforce. While long-term changes might be in store for your company (benefits aren’t instilled overnight!), an immediate change to the physical office is always a good idea. Focusing on creating open and collaborative spaces best fits with the preferred communication style of Millennials.
Call Fractal today to discuss the best options for transforming your office place into one that works as well for your employees as they do for you.