In the next few years, Millennials will make up more than 75 percent of our modern workplace. According to a millennial survey conducted by a Big 4 accounting firm, Millennials’ opinions about the motivation and ethics of business have spiralled downward.
Their expectations of what businesses should achieve does not match with what they perceive businesses’ actual priorities are. Millennials believe that businesses should not only focus on profits but also consider stakeholders’ interests. In other words, millennials want employers to prioritise their employees, society and the environment above the company’s objectives.
But do the Boomers and Gen X agree with the Millennial way?
Millennials have entered a professional world where their realities are wildly different from the ones Boomers and Gen X knew. They prioritize things that don’t make sense to the previous generations because their environment has different demands. The generations prior to Millennials entered a company and were expected to pay their dues in order to move forward. The understanding was if they worked hard for the company for several years, and the company benefited from their work, they would be rewarded with pay raises and promotions. This was the bargain struck between an employee and company back when the Boomers and Gen X were new in the corporate world: an employee works hard and in exchange, the organisation provides security and stability.
The majority of organisations in this day and age are run by the tail-end of Boomers and the older group of Gen X, which means they make the big decisions. So, should organisations change for Millennials or should Millennials change their behaviour?
In our newsletter dated February 2019, we talked about why organisations should change and steps they can take to change the way they operate to accommodate the objectives of Millennials in the corporate world. However, this time around we discuss three reasons Millennials should adapt to the corporate world of Boomers.
Millennials Say: Companies that are Fixated on Profits do not Inspirit Loyalty among Young Employees
Millennials claim that organisations that focus on profits do not consider the well-being of employees, society and the environment. This is not entirely true. It is crucial for organisations to ensure they have sufficient funding, one of the sources of which is profits. The stability of an organisation relies on consistent funding. Hence by ensuring the organisation has sufficient funds (and therefore by definition must be sufficiently profitable), organisations will then be better placed to maintain the well-being of their employees and provide them with a secure job.
Millennials Say: Companies Should Create Products and Services that Resonate With Millennials
Due to the value systems they grew up with and which have been embedded in them, Millennials have come to accept certain principles as given, such as eco-friendly products, protection of labour rights and environmental sustainability. As most Millennials, given their relative youth, are newcomers to the labour force, their economic influence may not necessarily be as strong as the Boomers and Gen X group, who may not support the ideals of the Millennials.
Hence, whilst companies, for long term sustainability purposes, may lean towards producing products to satisfy the needs and wants of the Millennials, they cannot ignore the economic influence exerted by the Boomers and Gen X grouping.
Millennials Say: Organisations Should Have Good Workplace Culture
Young workers have high expectations for their organisations, such as flexibility in working hours, no micromanaging and working for a cause. This is quite a big change from the previous generations, who typically valued salary as a main criteria in choosing and maintaining a job. Workplace culture is undoubtedly the most powerful tool in attracting and retaining top talents in an organisation.
The mind-set of both generations is a result of the value systems driven by the environment they grew up in. The paradox is that the Millennials and Boomers/Gen X group are both equally correct. Accordingly, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the first step towards creating sustainable value in any organisation and society as a whole would be to accommodate the expectations of both generations. This would contribute significantly towards creating a healthier workplace culture, which is a critical start point in fostering a healthy work environment and promoting an effective risk culture.