by Kulani Shiluvane, Founder and Chief Consultant at Shiluvah
The general workforce has undergone many significant changes over the years – with the most significant of this generation being the introduction of Millennials into the workforce. So, significant is this introduction that numerous articles have been written on this subject. Therefore, one needs to ask what makes this generation so special that we need to quantify and qualify their entrance into the workspace. And more importantly, what do non-millennials need to know about this generation that will enable them to not only coexist but also thrive in the workplace together.
Millennials also known as Generation Y or Gen Y are considered to be those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, the precise delineation differs from source to source. Unlike the generations before them, their entry into the workplace seems to be the greatest revolution in the workplace since women left the kitchen. Why is that? What separates Millennials so much for the generations that have occupied the workplace before them. Simon Oliver Sinek a British-American author, motivational speaker and organisational consultant, has some insights to share. He says that what makes Millennials different and has made their entry in to the workplace so significant, are the conditions in which they have been raised and how that up-bringing has effected their working lives. So much so that managers and other leaders in the work place say Millennials are: “tough to manage” (this is according to Sinek’s research). Those conditions include:
Parenting (Failed parenting strategies)
Raised by parents that give their children everything they want, deserved or not, in an era where technology is a legal drug available to all; where instant gratification is the order of the day in an environment that has lost its sense of community and has left them (Millennials) without basic yet fundamental social skills, skills not only needed in the workplace but also in general today-to-day life. No wonder my generation is “tough to manage,” and no wonder our entry into the workplace has caused such a buzz. But with more and more Millennials that are said to be lazy, unfocused, and entitled entering the work place, how do we mitigate the situation and enable Millennials and non-Millennials to coexist in workplace that is thriving, happy and healthy for everyone?
Here are a few ideas on how your business can bridge the gap:
Create a business environment that showcases the importance of hard work and the sense of purpose that one derives from it in a manner that is both fun and meaningful
Create a business environment that teaches practice and places value in community – where both the individual and the team is celebrated
Create a business environment that embraces technology in a manner that does not replace fundamental human interactions
Create a business of the future which look like this:
Invest in employee growth and provide training that will aid that growth
Seek to have a positive impact beyond the bottom line, thus creating some kind of public value
Understand flexibility and therefore understand that work can happen at anytime and anywhere
Interested and invested in employee health and wellness
Give continuous performance feedback
Millennials in the workplace are here to stay and therefore their introduction into the workplace will continue to be an important matter which managers and leaders within business environments will need to address in order to ensure that their introduction is beneficial one. There is also a thing or two we can learn from this generation that will enable us to run and build businesses that matter.
Kulani Shilivane is the founder and chief consultant at Shiluvah. She is an accomplished business development professional with a post-graduate qualification in Management from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is a skilled operation, logistics and strategic professional with experience in strategic planning and implementation, stakeholder engagement, human resources and public relations. Kulani served as Chief Operations Officer in a medium-size organisation in Johannesburg for 9 years and in 2017 she started Shiluvah. Kulani has a keen interest in conflict resolution, problem solving and organisational relations and development. Accredited as a mediator by Conflict Dynamics in 2018, her mediation interest areas are: commercial dispute, workplace, management and labour.
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