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How to build a workplace culture with millennials at the centre

Alistair Evans / February 1, 2019

Millennials (anyone born between 1981 and 2000) are different to previous generations whether it be Generation X or Baby Boomers because they are more diverse. In the UK 17% of millennials are in non-white ethnic groups with 26% of them born abroad, they earn less in their 20s than did Gen X and are concentrated significantly in London (where around 19% of them live) 1.

Households led by 25-34 year olds are less likely to own their own home and more likely to rent privately than any other age group and they have grown up during the growth of the internet – as a result 56% have shared a selfie and 81% sleep with their mobile phone!

In 2015, there were 8.82 million millennials living in the UK, 30% of the population was younger than people in this age group and 56% was older2.

A Changing Workforce Demographic

Today millennials comprise under 50% of your workforce. However, by 2025 this will have risen to 75% and millennials will be an important and influential part of your organisation. Millennials are eager to make a difference with 63% of them giving to charities and 43% actively volunteering.

How does an employer facilitate the changing requirements and expectations of a millennial workforce? How do you make a real difference and earn a loyalty that will see your business thrive as these budding professionals develop?


As an employer you are trying to create a culture where people want to better themselves for the benefit of the team and themselves, to do that we need to relate to the people we employ.

What are their needs?

  • Work life integration
  • Goal orientated
  • Innovation
  • Transparency
  • Inclusion
  • Diversity and Community relations
  • They are used to communicating through their mobile devices
  • Financial guarantors to enable them to get into the housing market

What are their dislikes?

  • Confrontation
  • Millennials are not all pay orientated (flexi hours and time off are as important)

These lists are generalisations and the first step as an employer is to understand the individuals or give the tools to your senior management team to build that knowledge. Owners and senior management need to act more as coaches than managers.


Ostrich or Magpie?

In November 2017 the CBI released a report, the results were clear, the UK needs more "magpie" and fewer "ostrich" businesses. Magpies have the skill and the will to find and adopt technologies and management best practices proven to increase productivity. Ostriches stick to what they know.

The Productivity Leadership Group (PLG) aims to address this trend in the UK. The Productivity Leadership Group is a business campaign aimed at improving the UK’s enduring productivity problems by making measurement more easily accessible and establishing best practice.


It has gained active support and involvement from a wide range of British business leaders, including the Chairman of John Lewis, Sir Charlie Mayfield, the Chief Executive of Channel 4, the UK Country Manager of Amazon, and the Chairman of BAE Systems.

Tony Danker, chief executive of the Productivity Leadership Group, said: “Businesses are at the heart of the solution. It’s critical that companies up and down the country now embark on major productivity push at every business, learning from the best and introducing management tools and technologies that have been proven to drive success."

'Exhibit 1 (see below) from CBI report released in November 2017' lists a number of examples where proven technologies and management practices should be addressed. Highlighted are the areas where Weekly10 can address and improve efficiencies within businesses that adopt the technology3.

Weekly10 forms a structure that allows communication north to south and east to west across a multi-site business enabling transparency. Allowing directors and management teams to identify the 1% gains and implement them across the whole company.

For example, say vehicle technician Joe has a great idea and suggests putting a simple sign on the showroom door giving a salesperson’s name, phone number and e-mail address with a message that they are always available to answer a customer's question about the vehicle advertised. If Joe's line manager thinks that idea will work, with Weekly10 he can 'pass up' the idea with one click and Joe gets the recognition he deserves. Weekly10 has examples of great ideas being implemented in a matter of days across multiple sites.

In conclusion, millennials are the emerging managers and senior technicians of the next 10 to 20 years. They are under the most stringent financial constraints since the post-war generation. In a far more competitive world they need the tools to help them raise the productivity bar.

References

  • 1 Government Briefing Paper Number CBP7946, Millennials 2017
  • 2 Attract and Retain Millennial Employees Carl Bennett Reynolds and Reynolds 2016
  • 3 From Ostrich to Magpie CBI 2017

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