According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest group in the workforce today, 34%, are Millennials. As a result, they are beginning to transform the work environment in several ways. Gen Y, who are between 18 and 34, are technically savvy in terms of social media connections, think multitasking is easy, want to be challenged right away, and expect regular, if not immediate feedback. Millennials also are eager to contribute and have impact in a new work environment, and if they don’t get it, may walk out the door.
Last year alone, the median time 20 – 24 year olds spent at one job was less than 16 months. Compare this to 3 years for those between 25 and 34.
Companies have chosen varied approaches in how to support the Millennial new hire. Though Gen Y’s bring specific characteristics and needs to the work environment, how to gain their loyalty and ensure a quick rise to productivity isn’t much different from other new hires. Similar to any employee, organizations need to engage new Millennials on day one to ensure their involvement in company issues, discussions and communication with others in the organization.
One company chose to provide a dedicated area for young entry-level employees to work and meet and interact. These workers report that having their own space with other new hires that work and think similarly is supportive. They don’t have a sense of being separate from the rest of the organization. Another organization chose instead to provide networking opportunities for new employees to meet and mingle with more senior staff to develop working relationships outside of the work day, and possibly foster a mentoring opportunity.
In response to the rising number of Millennials in the workforce, organizations should assess how best to respond to their work style and needs. If Gen Ys want to jump in feet first into a new role and want challenging work and responsibilities this is an opportunity to support them to do it successfully.
In any new hire situation, the new employee needs to be oriented to the organization and needs to feel welcome and supported through an initial ramp-up period. Though it may be true that the Millennial may leave a job more easily and quickly than an older counterpart, this should send a message to the organization that something is missing from the onboarding process.