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Making the most of Millennials in your industry

For the last decade, every industry has been pondering the puzzle of what to do with the generation dubbed ‘The Millennials’.

Born between the early 1980s and late 90s, Millennials have had their careers and lives shaped by the experience of entering an adult world that is still getting to grips with digital media in the midst of an economic crisis.

Millennials, now aged between 20 and 35, grew up as digital natives but are being employed by generations who did not. Age-old industries are dying and jobs for life are a thing of the past, but how does the current state of industry match up with the expectations of Millennials?

They are a generation who grew up being told they could do anything they wanted. As such, they are hugely ambitious, more widely university educated than any previous generation, and passionate about finding the job of their dreams – as well as a perfect work/life balance.

Millennials are often criticised for being too idealistic, for being the flag-bearers of entitlement culture, and for lacking the backbone required to do difficult jobs. But instead of worrying about what they can and can’t do, employers should be embracing the skills that Millennials can bring to the workplace and understand their expectations.

Here are our top tips for making the most of Millennials in the construction and engineering sectors:

  • Understand them: talk to them and ask them about how they see their working life panning out. Find what they can offer you that you don’t already have.
  • Be flexible: If you know what you want done by when, why does it matter where and how they complete the task? Does it matter if they work from home or a coffee shop or wherever if that’s where they are most productive? Set deadlines and if they meet them, don’t worry so much about their tactics and the time they clock in and out. (PWC)
  • Educate them: Millennials want to learn and grow quickly. They have less loyalty to their jobs, so if you don’t offer them opportunities to develop you will lose them. Set up leadership skills development courses and rotate them around different areas of the organisation. Encourage them to grow and they will be able to add greater value to you and are more likely to stay longer.
  • Be 24/7: This generation have their lives at their fingertips at every hour of the day. Take advantage of this way of life by giving them ways to engage with their job all the time. For example, you could identify mobile app-based learning programmes that your employees can study and work towards in their own time using their phones.
  • Engage with them: Millennials’ lives are lived online, and that’s where you should be connecting with them. If your workplace isn’t part of their digital lives, it won’t last long as part of their lives at all. Make sure your business presence on key social media channels is something that your younger employees are proud to engage with.

Previous generations made changes to the workplace that impacted upon Millennials, and the challenge facing modern industry is to integrate them as they enter and become managers in the workforce. Embrace what they know and what they do, and you will attract valuable talent into your business.

Penny Whitelock, September 2016


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