According to a recent study released in late October, younger members of the workforce or “millennials” place a great deal of weight on flexibility and constructive manager feedback. The study, called “Millennials Speak: A New Generation Seeks Focus, Flexibility and Feedback”, by Rupert & Company, a consulting firm was conducted on focus groups with 205 employees in the 23-33 age range at nine employers.
The study’s findings are quite different from current opinion that sees the millennial worker as self-indulgent, difficult to manage and more preoccupied with social media than their job assignments. In general, however, the study portrays the millennial worker as a focused individual with clear goals and less tolerance for slow change than their predecessors. Furthermore, millenials want managers who set precise work expectations, give ongoing feedback and encourage flexibility.
Based on study results and their extensive experience in the field, Rupert & Company concluded their report with the following recommendations to employers: (1) Make the commitment to fully equip managers to manage flexibly – The decades-old mantra “flex depends on my manager” has run its course; (2) Companies should require clear work definitions and quality feedback – Millennials will not endure 60-hour weeks for no reason or stale annual feedback; (3) Study your millennials thoroughly and let positive needs push change – Avoid the tendency to assume that this cohort just needs assimilation; (4) Redesign your flexibility system around key principles rather than menus – Use the millennial anchor of “as long as the work gets done” for many forms of flex; and (5) Embrace flexibility as a better way of working and engaging staff – As newcomers to the workplace, millennials should partner in work redesign. 10.31.2011.