This is the second random blog post/thought piece I’ve written regarding millennials in the workplace. As one, I feel like I know my kind well enough to have some ideas and advice for those with the opportunity (good or bad) to work with us.
Often times, you will see millennials leading the charge for cultural inclusion. Culture is such a broad and vague term, and I use it here intentionally. We as a whole seem to be very open and accepting to a vast amount and unclear spectrum of peoples, ideas, technologies, and methodologies. I DO understand the frustration this can cause when a simple task with a simple solution suddenly becomes much more complex. However, in the proper context, this can be incredible!
I’m about to use a word I typically detest due to its languid usage: open-minded. In this situation though, I feel the ambiguity of that word perfectly explains millennials in the workplace. We will usually consider using ANYTHING to get a job done! No solution seems too crazy from the get-go. Ever been to a restaurant with a modern menu created by millennials? Chances are there are some outlandish items, bizarre ingredients, or irregular cooking methods. We like new. We like risk. We like diverse.
Why is this a good thing though? “Business as usual” just isn’t good enough. The world around us shapeshifts more than Animorphs (millennial reference), thus it stands to reason that we need to evolve our processes as well. This isn’t to say that all business practices must be replaced, but change should be considered and potentially explored. “Why change something that works?” is also not a good mindset to keep around. It is detrimental to outside-the-box thinking, deters critical thinking, and certainly does not prepare for the future. In fact, that way of thought entrenches workplaces, forces them to be reactive, and could end up drowning a company.
Our tolerant acceptance of peoples and technologies is great for another critical business practice: teamwork. Think about it. An environment blending different cultures and backgrounds forces workers to act as a team, and as a generation that has built itself on the image of inclusion and receiving, I would argue that we are some of the best at teamwork. Again, I use the broad term of culture intentionally as the workplace is filled to the brim with people of all economic, social, political, spiritual, and racial backgrounds.
As a business-owner, manager, director, or person-of-authority I believe it would prove wise to harness this. Does change always work? No. In fact, this is where those in authority need to exercise proper judgement; many problems or situations do indeed require the simple tried-and-true solution! However, I urge those same leaders to be open to the idea of other solutions. Let your millennials roam a bit and discover new territory. There is a very strong likelihood that millennials will help drive the company to stay ahead of the current in order to maintain relevance and build resilience. In the ever-changing world that we live in one needs to adapt and evolve with the market, and millennials will often provide the vehicle needed to drive the change.