On my company’s intranet each employee has a profile that includes a photo as well as general information such as location, phone number, job title, and who a specific person reports to. The one space on the employee profile that isn’t automatically filled is a section where each person is given the opportunity to tell everyone “What I am Known for” in 255 characters or less.
If you spend even a few minutes looking through various employee profiles something becomes quite apparent; boomers stress their role and high expectations for the company, or don’t write anything since they must feel that their present position and “report-to chain” offer sufficient information, while millennials write about themselves and their passions as they relate to their work at the company and often add non-work-related insights about their lives.
Can you guess which is which?
Understanding the underlying reasons for this pattern can help solve many corporations’ problem in retaining their best and brightest millennials, thereby insuring each company’s continued success and relevance.
In short, the key to a company’s future lies in its current management’s ability to foster teamwork within all of the organization – especially among its millennials.
Millennials are often referred to as the “connected” generation for a reason – we entered our careers with the ability to be connected to our jobs 24/7 through smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. Thus unlike other generations, we never separated work from our personal lives since work for millennials has always been anywhere and anytime we have a wifi connection. Our professional and personal worlds don’t start and end, but blend together. And so do our relationships with one another.
Because millennials are so used to the instant trust and accessibility of the internet we grew up with, we enter into and form effective teams quickly. As team members we expect everyone on the team, including senior leadership, to be just as accessible and responsive to us since we are all on the same “team”.
This appreciation for a self-fulfilling “team work mentality” is a definitive aspect of our personalities. It is why so many millennials join small, goal oriented startups predominantly comprised of other millennials, sharing a team approach and exhibiting little sense of any established hierarchy. Simply, millennials enjoy sharing the drive and desire to succeed with like-minded individuals, no matter what age or position.
It is widely accepted that startups are successfully disrupting industries dominated by large corporations because most startups consist of forward-thinking millennials who seek to shape the future.
So what must you do now to retain millennials and insure your company's success? The answer lies in catering to the very nature of our generation by establishing a company-wide sense of inclusiveness via trust and a team approach, where everyone can contribute and be recognized regardless of their title, division, physical location or generation.