In today’s workplace it’s common for different generations — often with very different approaches to business — to work side by side. Executive business coach Iain Shippey says there is a lot we can learn from younger employees.
“Millennials are innovative and want to explore fresh and exciting ways of doing things,” he says. “They see leadership as a dialogue and not a monologue, and believe that leaders shouldn’t be isolated from the workforce.”
Futhermore, millennials are assertive. They crave expression and need to be invited to flavour and influence the environment. Shippey recommends avoiding judgement based on their age, status or dress code.
“Get close to them. Millennials prefer to work in a consultative and collaborative way.”
Adapt to technology
Apps, social media and technology are here to stay. Don’t fight it, rather ride the wave of momentum that it brings. Utilise the information highway to communicate your personal and corporate brands and to interface with the world.
Change how you communicate
Doing business is all about engaging with people, whether they are your clients, colleagues, suppliers or management. Ensure that you network in person and on social media.
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Older generations tend to rely heavily on landlines and email for communication, while millenials gravitate towards more spontaneous and interactive platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. Ensure that your method of communication isn’t as static and formal as years gone by, but is more approachable and fluid.
Rethink the idea of loyalty
A millennials’ perspective on loyalty to a company often differs significantly to that of older people. They are usually only loyal if they feel a company is appreciating and investing in them. According to a survey done by Future Workplace, some 91% of millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years, while median-time workers tend to stay with an employer for 4,6 years.
While millennials are new to the workplace, they have a lot of knowledge and skills to offer. Business is changing every day, and fast, so it’s important to be open to new, different and innovative ways of doing things. Ask young people questions; give them a voice.
Iain Shippey is a Partner at Change Partners. For more information visit www.changepartners.co.za.