How Millennials in the Workplace are Changing the Game

graphic that says how millennials in the workplace are changing the game

Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers have a new reality in the workplace. The next big generation – born after 1982, called Millennials – has arrived. By 2020 Millennials are projected to be 50% of the workforce and they’ll soar to 75% by 2025. And as they move into leadership roles, they will have a lot to say about the way business is run. But take heart training and organizational development professionals – these millennial workers also have significant leadership training needs.

First things first – how are millennials changing the workplace? Chances are, you’ve already noticed many of the changes.

Across the board, millennials in the workplace are far more comfortable with openness, collaboration and transparency. They are the drivers behind flat organizational structures and fewer titled roles. And because flattening means fewer management positions, leadership roles will emerge in other forms. Millennials believe – and we agree – that you don’t need a title to be a leader. It can come from heading up a project or stepping up to more responsibility on your team.

Millennials in the workplace have a high level of comfort with technology – they are the first generation to grow up in a fully digital world. They also fully embrace innovation and creativity. And perhaps most importantly, they welcome change. They are impatient with long-range planning and they crave constant feedback (you can thank social media for that). Millennials thrive on new goals and challenges to keep them motivated, whether it’s new products or a new organizational chart. Take note that this has the potential to receive pushback from Boomers and Gen Xers.

Millennials in the workplace are business-savvy and they absolutely care about the bottom line, but they care equally about their communities and the environment. They have a “triple bottom line” way of thinking — a strong belief in supporting people, planet and profit, and they will insist on including corporate social responsibility into strategic planning.

Generation X may have started the flexible work revolution, but the Millennials in the workplace have changed the game completely. They believe that work and life events are not separate and that they both occur around the clock. Since millennials reject a command and control management style, they won’t be looking over your shoulder. In short, Millennials don’t care where and when you work – or what you wear – as long as you get the job done.

So what does this all mean for leadership training? Not as much as you may think. This generational shift in the workforce does not change the fact that management and supervisor training will still be the #1 priority. As reported by Deloitte, Millennials want to take on more responsibility but they are aware that they lack the supervisory leadership skills. In fact, 30% of millennials do not feel ready to be in their leadership role. They cite “managing difficult people or situations, lack of experience, and dealing with conflicts” as their top concerns.

The bottom line is that despite evolving management styles, the need for leadership and supervisory training will remain strong. The key for training development professionals is to ensure the training leverages technology and includes plenty of collaboration and feedback.

Feel free to contact Powers Resource Center for support with your emerging leaders.

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