Millennials in Management: Redefining Company Culture
Millennials have long entered the workforce, and they are no longer just at work. This group of individuals often framed in the negative is increasingly occupying middle management positions, with some moving into decision-making roles as older generations begin to make their permanent exit from the workforce. What does this mean for the older and the younger generations? For Generation Z, this might mean that they now have strong advocates at the top who understand their priorities and their concerns with the current norms and styles of the workplace. For other middle managers and older professionals, millennial leadership may be the key to attracting top talents in the younger age bracket.
Millennials at Work
According to a study by Icon Executive Asia on the generations that comprise the country's workforce from 2018 to 2021, 50 percent of the respondents are millennials, 44 percent are Generation X, and only 6 percent were Baby Boomers.
The same study also showed that almost half of the millennial respondents occupy seats in the middle with an average salary of P50,000-P80,000, and the remaining 38 percent of the respondents belonging to the millennial age range hold positions in senior management with a monthly salary of up to P150,000.
There is no doubt that the millennials rising up the leadership ranks now have the opportunity to drive real change, create an employee-centered workplace and challenge the status quo. So, being a generation that embodies the digital age and seeks purpose in their jobs just like the succeeding Gen Z, they have significantly redefined one crucial area for any business: company culture. Here are a few things they tweaked to shake up the workforce and change company culture for the better and generations to come that you can mirror to attract young talents.
Being part of what we generally call "digital natives," millennials have this "always-on" mentality. When you combine this mentality with how much they value transparency and an individual's ability to give his or her two cents, you get a culture of open communication.
Having a culture of open communication can help workers feel motivated, valued, and inspired. It can also promote collaborations, higher trust and camaraderie among team members. So, let them speak their minds and voice their opinions. Show them that their views, ideas, and concerns are just as valuable as their skills. Give them a chance to see how their duties fit into the big picture. Doing so will also allow you as a middle manager to see what should be done to help the department or team you're overlooking reach their goals.
Unfortunately, you can't expect employees to share right away just because you told them to; that's why you'll have to set a standard. Communication is a two-way process, so let them follow suit by being open with them in terms of the company's situation as well as your feedback on their performances. Keep your employees in the loop and not in the dark by informing them of the good and the bad of the company. Aside from promoting transparency and open communication, you get to avoid employees making false assumptions about the organization.
Now, one more thing that's left for you to do to foster a culture of open communication is going beyond face-to-face interactions through the use of various communication tools—wherever your people are comfortable. Being offered a choice to voice their opinions in ways other than in person can empower employees who are uncomfortable with face-to-face interactions and confrontations. This may send the message that the upper management sees their struggles and is willing to address them to promote a sense of belongingness and help everyone become more comfortable at work.
Trust and flexibility
It's been more than a year since the pandemic has changed how and where we do our work, and for the digital native leaders, it was enough time to see that the work-from-anywhere arrangement or the commute-free lifestyle works and even helped most, if not all, relieve stress and achieve a better work-life balance—something that millennials personally crave more than the older generations. This observation allowed most millennial leaders to be open and even embrace the idea of flexible working arrangements, which certainly helped boost the employee productivity of many.
However, this move may be a huge risk for most as remote work or telecommuting is not everyone's cup of tea. So, instead of jumping on the bandwagon of WFH, you can start by putting more weight on the impact your staff creates rather than the amount of time they spend sitting at work. Flexibility in the workplace should not be entirely about where your employees do their duties, and your focus should be more on the results they deliver at the end of the day. Trust them to finish their deliverables and meet quotas wherever and however they can. Aside from giving them power over how they go about their day, you are helping reduce your employees' stress levels and tendencies to overwork and eliminate the usually time wasted in excessive coffee breaks and idle chit-chat at the office.
Corporate social responsibility
Millennials have been known to demonstrate a strong sense of social responsibility. They seek to serve a greater purpose beyond generating revenue. Now that they hold middle and senior management positions, they are taking corporate social responsibility to the next level. Considering the global health crisis that the world has been facing, this group became even more aware of the needs of others. Their desire to address social issues and inequalities in their community in their own little way grew bigger, leading them to build a company culture of empathy and inclusivity and incorporate CSR initiatives into business strategies to make an actual impact in the larger community.
Following the steps of millennial leaders regarding CSR may inspire loyalty and boost employee morale, but it doesn't end there. Committing to improving and increasing your CSR strategies can also help your organization reach a broader audience and drive consumers toward your products and services with the idea of allowing them to make a difference through their purchases.
There you go, though that's just the tip of the iceberg. Millennials are still in the process of easing into the middle and senior management level, so there's still a lot more to look forward to in terms of how they lead a business (and their succeeding generations). But all that future talk aside and considering the three things mentioned above, how do you plan to evolve your work culture in a post-pandemic world?