“Millennials don't want to be managed, they like to be led, coached and mentored. This generation is on fire and ready to go. Are you ready to change the world?”
― Farshad Asl

If you started working before 1998 and you work in a company that has not stopped hiring since 1998. A quick fun fact, the number of people who joined after 1998 have outnumbered all of you that did not. Why is this pertinent? because the one common thread that fits almost everyone in the described population is, they’re all millennials!

This shift is not only happening in your workplace but in fact, is happening all across the united states. According to the Pew research center data, millennials are now the largest workforce in America!

Millennial workforce demographics from 1994 to 2017
Millennial workforce demographics from 1994 to 2017

WHO IS MILLENNIAL?

To answer “what” or rather “who is a millennial?”, let me just say some brilliant people have found a way to group every one of us as a part of a “Generation” based on our birth years. Essentially all of us share this identity of our generation wherein we display similar characteristics and outlooks towards common stuff that everybody grapples with, for example: Work life expectations, trust towards authority, trust towards banks, how we choose to live our life and more. Simply put, if we have many things in common as “Human Beings” we have a lot more things in common with Human Beings that are a part of “Our” generation.

Now that we understand how the labeling works let's have a quick study of all the Generations out there.

  • GI generation, Born between 1901 and 1926
  • Mature/Silents, Born between 1927 and 1945
  • Baby Boomers, Born between 1946 and 1964
  • Generation X, Born between 1965 and 1980
  • Millennials, Born between 1981 and 1995
  • Gen Z, Born between 1995 and 2005

According to Wikipedia, these are a brief overview of what the demographers classify as “generations.”

GI Generation: 

G.I. Generation is the demographic cohort following the Lost Generation. There are no precise dates for when this cohort starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use the early 1900s as starting birth years and ending birth years in the mid-1920s.

Mature/Silents: 

The Silent Generation is the demographic cohort following the cohort knew in the USA as the G.I. Generation. There are no precise dates for when The Silent Generation starts or ends. Demographers and researchers typically use mid-to-late 1920s as starting birth years and early-to-mid 1940s as ending birth years for this cohort.

Baby Boomers:

Baby boomers (also known as boomers) are the demographic cohort following the Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. Varying timelines are defining the start and the end of this cohort; demographers and researchers typically use birth years starting from the early- to mid-1940s and ending anywhere from 1960 to 1964.

Generation X:

Generation X or Gen X is the demographic cohort following the baby boomers and preceding the Millennials. There are no precise dates for when Generation X starts or ends. Demographers and researchers typically use birth years ranging from the early-to-mid 1960s to the early 1980s.

Millennials:

They are the generational demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when this cohort starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years.

Generation Z: 

Generation Z or Gen Z, also known by many other names is the demographic cohort after the Millennials (Generation Y). There is no precise date for when Generation Z begins, but demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to mid-2000s as a starting birth years. There is little consensus regarding ending birth years. Most of Generation Z have used the internet since a young age and are comfortable with technology and social media.

According to The Gallup report on “how millennials want to work and live,” it doesn't seem like they want anything very different compared to their previous generation. They want the same things done in a better way.

With the end of 2018 and the dawn of 2019, every workplace in America is going through a very interesting change in the demographics as well as organizational management. To explain this shift further, let us split the different generations in the workplace based on their hierarchy in the organization. Let us go with a pictorial representation to make this understanding a little simpler.

Pictorial representation of various cohorts
Pictorial representation of various cohorts

The yellow triangle represents the Millennials in your workplace.

The red circle represents the Gen Xers in your workplace.

The green square represents the Baby Boomers in your workplace.

                                                                                PAST

Workforce demographics of the past
Workforce demographics of the past

Till so far, the workplace dynamic has been in a way where the organization has had Baby boomers as it’s leadership, with Gen Xers as managers and the millennials as employees.

This setup in itself caused the rise of a 20 billion dollar, industry that did copious amounts of research to understand the “New Millennial Employees” that are changing the workplace with their tech-savvy nature and disruptively new methods of work.

                                                                           RECENT PAST

Workforce demographics of the recent past
Workforce demographics of the recent past

After a decade of the millennial influx, a lot of Gen Xers and Baby boomers successfully adapted to how this new generation contributed to the organization. However, this gave a lot of Gen Xers the ability to move into executive or senior management roles, where they were directly in touch with the Boomers which mainly constituted of the upper management, but were also able to mentor the newly appointed millennial managers.

                                                                        PRESENT

The rise of Gen Z
The rise of Gen Z

The purple star represents Gen Z in your workplace

Generation Z is those who were born in 1996-2005, and they have already started leaving footprints in your workplace. This generation grew up in the time of great recession and is a little different than millennials concerning their workplace demands. While they are primarily in the education system and are slowly transgressing into the workforce, preliminary studies indicate that they would favor technology on a scale far higher than any other working generation.

                    DECLINE OF BABY BOOMERS AND RISE OF MILLENNIAL MANAGERS

The decline of Baby boomers and the rise of millennial managers
The decline of Baby boomers and the rise of millennial managers

According to this Investopedia article, there is an everyday retirement of about 10,000 baby boomers from the workforce. This news means that the modern workplace demographic is going to have a shift with more millennial managers that report to Gen Xers who will now hold all the executive positions. With the advent of Gen Z in the entry-level jobs, every organization needs a massive change in the management policies as the old methods of annual performance reviews will do very little to retain this new workforce.

                                                                        FUTURE

Workforce demographics of the future
Workforce demographics of the future

As it is impossible to predict the future, it is safe to assume with an educated guess that, by 2025, millennials will be 75% of your workforce and it will have its first-time generation Z managers and the most tech-savvy workforce of all times.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2015 millennials will overtake the majority representation of the workforce and by 2030 this hyper-connected, tech-savvy generation will make up 75% of the workforce.

 WHAT DO THE MILLENNIALS WANT IN A WORKPLACE?

  • Flexible work timing
  • Transparency of organizational goals
  • Holacracy

Flexible work timing

With the advent of technology and the ability to stay connected with your teams at all times, comfort has taken precedence over communication. Millennials seek work-life balance and the ability to get work done from wherever and whenever they see fit. They believe they make the best choices that help them be most productive and expect management to respect that.

Transparency of organizational goals

According to the Gallup report on “employee engagement in the workplace”, Millennials want to know what they should bring to the table. It's essential for them not to lack an understanding or awareness of job responsibilities. Gallup finds that 72% of millennials who strongly agree that their manager helps them set performance goals are engaged. Setting performance goals is one significant aspect while the other is knowing how to prioritize work responsibilities. They require job clarity, so they have an understanding of what to do. They also need direction in establishing priorities and knowing the order in which tasks should get done.

Prioritizing is a distinct need for millennial employees: Just 54% of millennials strongly agree that they want to know how to prioritize responsibilities at work, compared with 71% of those from older generations.

Organizations need great management to overcome this obstacle. Currently, this problem is dealt with by managers in most organizations, but the smarter companies have switched to the goal management framework of OKRs to tackle this specific problem, OKRs significantly improve employee engagement. Nearly seven in 10 millennials who strongly agree that they are engaged when their priorities are clear, compared with 27% of millennials who do not strongly agree.

Holacracy

The term was coined by Arthur Koestler in 1967 to mean holistic democracy or sociocracy. It is a method to flatten our power structures in a way that ensures all voices may be heard equally
just as critically, each member of an organization has access, as a matter of course, to leaders and decision-makers. Access to company leadership and planning decisions, and therefore a stake in the company’s future, is not based on how long you’ve worked there or how large your salary is; it’s a protected right for everybody in the organization.

“I like to think of managing Millennials like being a video game console and they are the player. Think engagement, reward, recognition, constant feedback, interdependence and always involving them in the big picture and how to get there” ― Glen Sollors, Millenials in the workplace.

WHY SHOULD I CARE WHAT THEY WANT?

Well, if you are a leader of a workforce in any capacity, you should care about profit. Profit comes from growth and growth comes from a workforce that is not stagnant. Helping a workforce perform at its maximum possible capacity is also the responsibility of a leader. However, it is agreeable all that changes aren’t necessarily within your control. You can prepare for the outcomes by equipping yourself with the latest management practices and shed older methods which will no longer work. 

If not already, but definitely by 2025, the current way you set and manage your goals will never work for a team that is one or even two generations behind you. They seek technology, clear goals, automatic updates and clarity of vision for the business to be able to engage and contribute actively. However, if provided with all these, you can nurture a workforce that is tech-savvy, and passionate about its personal growth as well as that of the business.

To address this specific problem is why smart companies all over the world are already shifting from annual performance reviews and outdated goal setting methods to OKRs. We at Upshotly are also passionate about equipping the businesses of the future with the only OKR software that automatically updates real-time progress.

For a workplace with multigenerational teams, our software bridges the gap between simplicity and efficiency. It gives your millennials and soon to come Generation Z the effectiveness of an automated tool while providing leadership, the simplicity to effectively communicate the clarity of their vision to everyone in the team.