Why millennials are increasingly important in the workplace

It is essential for organisations to not only accommodate the preferences of millennials but to promote and maintain a company culture that allows them to flourish, says Alex Roberts, regional director of sales and operations at Cura Software Solutions.

Millennials are also known as Gen-Ys, or those born between 1981 and 1996.

Baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are starting to retire, creating a power vacuum that can only be filled by millennials. Millennials currently hold about 20% of all leadership roles, and this is set to grow exponentially.

A close affinity with the digital world is one of the defining characteristics of the millennial generation, and, in Roberts' view, arguably their most valuable contribution.

"The negative preconceived notions that some hold about this generation is often unsubstantiated, misguided and incorrect, and an attempt to understand how to maximise millennial efficacy can amplify the company's productivity," says Roberts.

'Intrinsic to success'

"The effective incorporation of Gen-Ys is intrinsic to an organisation's success, as the value this group adds to their workplace far outweighs their preconceived shortcomings."

He says one benefit of Gen-Ys is that they have an increased emphasis on teamwork and group projects.

As teamwork has always been a natural function to completing tasks, a millennial's strength lies in collaboration, he explains.

Millennials also feel strongly about diversity and inclusion, and take politics, ethics and philosophy very seriously.

The Pew Research Centre found that millennials account for more people who identify as multiracial than any other generation. A survey by Deloitte also found that millennials are most willing to stick with companies that have diverse management teams and flexible work environments.

"Ultimately, the risk that millennials bring to the workplace is not that they lower the bar - in fact, their commitment to technological advancement, purpose-driven work, flexibility, inclusion and diversity raises it," says Roberts.

Lots to teach, lots to learn

"The real danger that organisations face is inflexibility, lack of agility and unwillingness to embrace the revolutionary changes that millennials have to offer."

However, while millennials have a substantial amount to teach baby boomers, they also have a lot to learn, says Roberts.

"The millennial generation grew up impatient, as advances in technology have facilitated instant gratification.

"Their personal success is hinged on their desire to climb the corporate ladder as quickly as possible - which is seldom realistic. So, the onus is on companies to impart essential skills and pace their millennial employees to ensure their readiness for career advancement."

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