CBS’ new sitcom “The Great Indoors” pokes fun at the generation gap between millennials and Gen Xers. In one episode, a millennial employee gets a bad review and his mother complains to HR, which then proceeds to dress down the manager who delivered the review, played by Joe McHale.
The show is generally clever even if it falls back on predictable stereotyping at times to get cheap laughs. But what it does well is point to the chasm between these two generations and the difficulties in bridging it.
Bridge it we must, though, since millennials are expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce within 10 years, according to Bentley University. IT service providers looking for fresh talent increasingly will have to consider millennials to fill vacant positions.
In so doing, employers should put some effort into learning what makes them tick. Currently, many are failing at this. In a recent Deloitte study, 44 percent of millennials were ready to leave their job within two years and two-thirds planned to do so by 2020.
The study suggests that millennials have well-defined values when it comes to employment. They want business to focus more on people, products and purpose, and less on profits. In a Wall Street-dominated business environment that places great importance on the next quarterly results, friction between the corporate mission and employee values is inevitable.
Regardless of generational challenges, MSPs need millennials to round out their staffs. The question is how to successfully recruit and retain millennials. Here are some tips:
The first thing to keep in mind is don’t overthink the generation gap. Every generation is different from the last but has more traits in common than it might appear. The 1960s hippies turned into the Wall Streeters of the 1980s. The grunge-loving slackers of the 1990s became the investors and shapers of the Internet economy.
Employers need to understand some fundamental millennial traits to help them succeed in the workplace. Millennials want career development opportunities. Stagnation is their enemy. So if you want to retain them for the long term, engage them through new-skills training and consider them for new job opportunities.
Rigid work schedules don’t work for millennials. Wherever possible, keep hours flexible and allow employees to telecommute. You’re bound to get far more productivity from millennial workers by adjusting to their work styles–instead of forcing them to fit into a traditional schedule.
Millennials are growing up with smartphones and tablets. They like to text, and even email feels antiquated to the younger crowd. They believe in social media and are likely to want to use it for marketing and other purposes. It’s important to set boundaries as an employer, but keep an open mind about how millennials do things. Chances are you will learn from each other.
No one is suggesting you completely change your approach or abandon your business values to hire millennials. The bottom line is if you’re to succeed into the future, millennials will play a role in that success. So you’ll need to strike the right balance between your view of the world and theirs.