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How Millennials are Changing the Workplace

Business.com / HR Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Millennials are excited to work for a company that values collaboration, communication, and flexibility in work hours.

The collective working environment is changing rapidly, thanks to millennials. This younger generation is already taking over and soon will dominate leadership roles in many corporate offices. As such, the way of things before is long gone, and in its place is a different means of communication, more telecommuting and an expectation of social awareness.


Email has almost gone the way of the dinosaur. It's an antiquated form of communication for many millennials, who prefer to communicate in person or by texting. The shorter attention span, due to the speed with which anyone can receive news or information today, has affected communication. Millennials want to get work done quickly and they don't have time for formalities.


When is the last time you watched a TV show when it aired? We no longer have to work around other schedules because everything is on demand and that's how many millennials view the work day. The former 9-to-5 workday is dead and gone. Flexibility in the workplace is the top requested perk of a job.

That flexibility in work hours doesn't mean less work being done, though. In a Bentley University study, 77 percent of millennials said flexible work hours leads to more productive hours of work. And 89 percent of those millennials said they check work emails after work hours, anyway.

The idea of work-life balance started with Generation X, but it isn't about working less. It's about attending to life events, regardless of what time of day, but it also doesn't mean that work ends at 5 p.m. sharp. Working from home or telecommuting is a big perk for many millennials.


Leadership styles need to adapt to millennials' needs and expectations. Rather than forcing an employee into a box and behaving, managers need to be more flexible in their approach to leadership.Collaboration is important to many workers today who want to work with management, rather than be told what to do. Many millennials in the workplace see leadership as an act — not a title.

Transparency in what a company does and how it's done is important to the younger generation, and it's expected. The chain of command as it once was is less necessary thanks to technology making it easy for everyone to know what's going on at any time and offer input.

Social Justice

Just as millennials expect their employers to be transparent in everyday duties and finances, they also expect to know how products are made, and that it was done ethically. Not only do millennials care about profit, they also care about where that money goes. This is why the largest generation in the U.S. workforce is also demanding more volunteerism from their employers. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, almost 70 percent of millennials said they would raise money for a nonprofit that's important to them, and 84 percent of millennials made a charitable donation recently.

The common thread among all of these concepts and what's important to millennials is that change is not only expected but good. To effectively lead millennials in the workplace, you must listen, understand, bend and trust.


Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

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