Millennials at work: What’s your views?

Millennials at work: What’s your views?

What are your views on Millennials at today’s workplace? I am sure the conventional words that come into our minds are: itinerants, short-fused, impulsive, self-centric, and the list goes on. Hitherto, what exactly defines Millennials and how different are they from other groups of employees such as Baby-boomers and Gen-X?

Recently I chanced upon an article on Harvard Business Review by Bruce N. Pfau on What Do Millennials Really Want At Work? The Same Thing the Rest of Us Do, and it has indeed shed some light on the “misconception” that we might be harbouring all this while, towards Millennials at our workplace.

Below are the key points extracted from the article:

  1. Amongst the plethora of case studies and articles on behaviour of Millennials, very few are supported with empirical research
  2. Stark differences among generations may not exist in the workplace
  3. Minor differences may result due to life phases, rather than generational forces
  4. Millennials are pretty much aligned to other groups of employees in terms of career goals
  5. Behavioural patterns exuded by Millennials have existed in the workplace for decades

There seems to be a strong argument on the integrity of research findings that are in circulation as Bruce N. Pfau engages words such as “proliferation of poor research”, “overreaching and invalid conclusions” when he draws references to the articles. He also highlighted the lack of comparisons to control groups of other workers or young people of other generations, which may demonstrate insufficient grounds for making meaningful conclusions.

Speaking in the shoes of a Millennial employee, differences amongst groups of employees in the workplace is inevitable, and this can be attributed to many factors such as gender, race, nationality and so forth, not solely generation. For instance, Millennials are being stereotyped as “itinerant”, with short stints in numerous organizations in their early stage of career. Rather, I would correlate that to age, commitment and risk appetite. A young chap who is single, naturally has a higher risk appetite and motivation for career moves, as compared to his mid-aged co-worker, who is socially and financially accountable to his 3 young children and a pair of aging parents. Differences are already existent in the workplace, but somewhat they have been amplified and scrutinised under the microscopic lenses of organizations, in the name of Millennials.

Taking another viewpoint as a HR practitioner, I do agree with the majority that voices of the employees should be heard. However this should not stop at Millennials and forgoing the Baby-boomers and Gen-X. Millennials are merely more vocal and expressive in their needs and pursuits as compared to their co-workers, hence a misconception of their distinct behavioural patterns is engendered. Diving deeper into this topic by conducting employees satisfaction surveys or focus group discussions, findings have demonstrated the alignment of career goals and pursuits of all employees in an organization, regardless of generation.

What are your thoughts of engaging Millennials in your organization? Do you forsee further collaboration or estrangement?

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