Quick learners, energetic and eager? Or entitled, self-centered and tied to their devices? Millennials (those age 18 to 34 as of 2015) have been called all of these and more.
Unlike their predecessors in the Gen X and Baby Boomer generations, Millennials have grown up with advanced technology – for them, there was no paper-to-screen transition. They’ve matured through the past few decades the way the use of desktop and laptop computers has evolved into the use of smartphones and tablets.
If you work among Millennials – and as this demographic is the largest of the U.S. workforce, chances are that you do – you may have noticed that they “roll” in a different way.
- Millennials have a high regard for work-life balance, to the extent that they’re comfortable taking their tasks virtually anywhere. Online meetings such as those facilitated by WebEx or GoToMeeting suits younger employees. But in other ways, this mobile lifestyle represents risk, as this demographic has few qualms about connecting with just about anyone, from co-workers to customers, remotely. Your company should have a robust security policy in place to ensure that millennials (and everyone else) know the boundaries of taking communications off the established grid.
- Speaking of workplace communication, Millennials consider email yesterday’s technology. Even some of their colleges have largely abandoned email for student communication. This generation is much more accustomed to texting, IMs, Skype, social media and task management tools like Asana.
“Friend” Them for Better Workplace Relations
The definition of a “friend” has undergone some changes in the age of social media. Millennials can have countless “friends” whom they’ve never met or even spoken to in person. This demographic forms strong online bonds, and if you are in their network, you could benefit from faster and better communication – even if you see them regularly in the office.
Then, take full advantage of what Millennials have to teach you — the best way to use technology or even the best way to talk to other Millennials. At the same time, share your experience and expertise, and you could find that a cross-generational workplace is not only possible, it’s preferable.