A Millennial Perspective on the Future of Work
Often described by other generations as lazy, unmotivated, and un-engaged, millennials’ priorities are simply different than our predecessor colleagues. As a result, a shift within the workplace has emerged to attract and retain millennials. Instead of focusing on traditional work values like rigid work schedules, formal attire, and time spent in the office, millennials like myself are questioning traditional methods and pushing for change.
By 2020 millennials will make up over one-third of the total global workforce. As the number of millennials entering the workforce continues to grow and previous generations retire, change is inevitable for the future of work. The following topics outline ways in which we have already started to lead workplace change and things you can do today to help drive the workforce forward.
We question the status quo
We are a confident, ambitious and digitally connected cohort with the knowledge and drive to pose questions that make companies re-consider how businesses today should be run.
Why should we wear formal attire to work? Do I need to be in the office to do my job? Why can’t I choose my hours? Why do I need 10 years of experience for a job I am eager and ready to do today? Why do I have to wait 6 months for a formal review when I can benefit from feedback now?
There are many rules and regulations that have been in place for decades simply because that is the way things have always been done. Although processes and procedures may have been valid at the time of implementation, society is evolving and the workplace should as well. To remain relevant and competitive within the industry, it is in all of our best interests to question the traditional process and provide insight into new and innovative ways to approach workplace processes.
We want to work for a purpose
We think beyond a salary and strive to work for more than just a paycheck – we want to work for a purpose. We have a different outlook on life and what truly matters and want to feel our work and lives provide real value to society.
With purpose comes passion resulting in a more engaged workforce. The values expressed by companies are becoming more important than ever before as our generation looks to make a real impact across the globe. According to a LinkedIn survey, 71% of professionals say they would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that has a mission they believe in and shared values. This is not to say you should be taking a pay cut, but rather evaluate your values and the companies values to make sure they align.
Every year Xerox releases the Corporate Social Responsibility Report to share the companies values and commitment to the environment, social and governance responsibilities. The report displays how Xerox makes a positive impact on the world through community service projects, sustainability efforts, a commitment to diversity, and so much more. Xerox was also recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality" by the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index 2019 for its strong commitment to social advocacy and equality. What you do should have a positive impact on your company as well as your community, so look for ways to get involved and work for companies that share your values and purpose.
We embrace innovation & new technologies
We grew up in the heart of the digital age, witnessing firsthand the evolution of technology and have come to rely on devices like computers and smartphones. As experts in the digital space, we are the most digitally connected generation in the workforce we are typically the first to know about new and innovative technologies and are eager to adopt them. It can be frustrating for us to work with old software and equipment that we know will stifle our productivity. Due to our extensive interest and knowledge of innovation and technology, it is our responsibility to speak up when current technology is getting old and/or outdated and share new potential software and technologies with colleagues to keep our working environment as modern and efficient as possible.
We work best in flexible environments
Over the last few years, millennials have been increasingly pushing for flexible work schedules to maintain a healthy work-life balance. According to a recent LinkedIn article on 2019 Global Talent Trends, 75% of respondents in the US reported work flexibility is very important to the future of recruiting and HR.
Flexibility to work from home or take a longer break to attend an appointment in the middle of the day can make us more productive as we can achieve both our work and life goals without feeling stressed for time. It is not just in our best interest to have flexible work schedules but also in the interest of the companies we work for. When offering a more flexible work schedule companies have seen, an increase in retention, a larger pool of qualified candidates, and a more productive workforce. Stressing the importance of flexibility within the work environment to our managers and colleagues can help evolve the workplace towards a more productive and collaborative environment where everyone succeeds.
We are living in an exciting time where we have the power to make a real difference in the way future generations approach work. So don’t be afraid to push the status quo.