Business leaders must understand Millennials better
Waikato business leaders gathered recently to talk about the importance of the Millennial generation and how to better attract, inspire and communicate with them. The Crucial Conversations over Lunch (CRUNCH) session in Hamilton featured a panel of four experts talking about Millennials from a variety of point of views. The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017 predicts […]
Waikato business leaders gathered recently to talk about the importance of the Millennial generation and how to better attract, inspire and communicate with them.
The Crucial Conversations over Lunch (CRUNCH) session in Hamilton featured a panel of four experts talking about Millennials from a variety of point of views.
The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017 predicts that by 2020 about 75 per cent of the workforce is expected to be made up of Millennials.
The Millennial generation includes people born between 1981 and 1996 according to The Pew Research Institute, making them now aged around 22 to 37.
Understanding demographic groups and generational cohorts can help business people – and employers – understand what makes their staff tick, says Heather Claycomb, director of HMC Communications, who organised the session.
“There can be an ‘us and them’ mentality between older and younger generations, and that is definitely true in the workplace. However, if you better understand Millennial thinking you are in a good position to retain talent, improve productivity and innovate your business.”
The CRUNCH session speakers included four Millennials: commentator and former journalist Emily McLean; Clive Somerville, an account manager who has worked closely with Millennial staff; Gemma Major, who leads a Millennial networking organisation, and Nicola Lee, a public relations expert.
McLean, who currently works with the Commission for Financial Capability, has worked extensively with various brands including shipping firm Maersk and accounting firm Deloitte on social media engagement. While working at Deloitte she wrote about the rewards and challenges that Millennials bring to the workplace, and data from her work and the international Deloitte Millennial Survey informed many of her insights.
McLean was born in 1987 and says she’s a typical Millennial. “I have a job that didn’t exist when I was in high school, and I am also entrepreneurial and set up my own company, redoing people’s dating profiles.”
“Contrary to some opinions, Millennials are not self-entitled or a selfish generation. They care about the environment, their health and social responsibility, and they want to do a lot of good in the world. They are passionate and purpose-driven, digital natives, and are flexible and agile.”
She said that “Millennials want a purpose, not a pay check” and that “86 per cent of Millennials believe that the success of a business isn’t just measured in terms of its financial performance”.
McLean also said that if employers want to really engage with Millennials, that involves demonstrating corporate social responsibility (CSR). “Millennials have a deep sense of responsibility for the world, and they see their workplace is a place to exert that influence and make a difference.
“Millennials see their job as very much integrated into their life which is why it’s so important that there’s a strong purpose behind why they come to work each day.
“To encourage loyalty and productivity, companies that want to attract and retain Millennials need to deliver ‘a great employee experience’.
“That means thinking outside the box when it comes to working hours.
“Gone are the days of the nine-to-five workday. Millennials will question why they work the hours they do and ask themselves ‘well if I’m not a morning person and I work best from 10am to 6pm, then why don’t I work those hours?’”
According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 69 percent of Millennials choose when they start and finish work, said McLean.
“Millennials also prefer a flat organisational structure, not a hierarchical structure. They want mentorship, not management.”
The risk of ignoring the needs of Millennials, is losing them to the competition. The Gallup Institute Survey found that only 14 percent of employees in New Zealand and Australia are engaged at work. Disengaged people can easily move companies, and Millennials are not a generation that will stick around if bored or unappreciated, says McLean.
The Deloitte Millennial Survey found that 38 percent of Millennials expect to leave their jobs within the next two years.
“The Millennial generation are going to be hugely influential, and it’s time we paid more attention to them,” says Claycomb. “It’s time for business leaders to get on board to better understand and work alongside them, or they risk losing staff and being left in the dust.”
The next two CRUNCH sessions will be held in August and November 2018. For more information go to www.hmc-communications.co.nz/page/crunch