Millennial employees currently make up the greatest share of the national and global workforce. Being born between 1980 and 1995, “Millennials” display a different attitude towards work than their non-millennial colleagues. Millennials’ workplace experiences are greatly influenced by their culture, work and communication styles, as well as career development opportunities and work/life balance (PwC, 2013). PwC (2013) dispels many myths surrounding the quality and effectiveness of Millennials’ performance. It appears that millennial and non-millennial workers are equally committed to their workplace obligations, and they are ready to encounter and overcome the biggest career challenges (PwC, 2013). However, they also expect that millennial organizations will respond to their efforts and bring in new models of employer-employee relationships, thus making millennial workers more satisfied with their jobs.
We, the millennial workers, look, act, and think differently from our older colleagues. We are no longer tied to one workplace, and we are not afraid of shifting from one workplace to another. We seek flexibility, and we are less prepared to sacrifice our non-professional interests for the sake of greater workloads. PwC (2013) says that most millennial workers do not see themselves as being tied to one workplace within the next nine years, while the growing number of respondents would love to try themselves in overseas jobs. Really, we are used to travel large distances, and we accept diversity and challenge as inseparable from our personal and professional growth. We do not want to spend all our lives working in office positions. We want to be mobile and use technologies to meet these mobility goals. We are here to bring a new spirit into traditional jobs, making them more pleasant and, as a result, giving stronger motivation and willingness to achieve success.
In no way are we less committed to our workplace obligations than our older counterparts. It is just that the nature of our commitments has changed. We do not compromise our professionalism, but we simply expect that organizations will become more attentive to our workplace and beyond-workplace needs. We see the creation of a cohesive, team-oriented culture and new opportunities for interesting and rewarding work as the essential components of workplace happiness (PwC, 2013). We also expect to be closer to our potential and current employers, as we want to communicate our needs directly to managers. One of the best ways to bring employers closer to potential employees is through companies’ sponsorship of academic curricula (Chaker, 2006).
Managers from IBM come to the North Carolina State University, in order to teach the Services Management Class (Chaker, 2006). Other companies, such as BMW and Credit Suisse Group, also seek to expand their presence on the campus (Chaker, 2006). Companies’ involvement in curriculum processes fits perfectly well into millennials’ philosophy of work and life, where the employee and employer work hand by hand to meet the common goals of their organization. Such activities definitely contribute to the sense of community and make the company’s goals and expectations more transparent to students (PwC, 2013). Unfortunately, the hidden agenda should not be ignored. We, millennials, treat companies’ involvement in our academic processes as a good chance to establish lasting relationships that will benefit our careers. Yet, we cannot be confident that such cooperation will lead to a positive result. According to Chaker (2006), the goal of such activities is to produce graduates, who are well prepared to work for IBM (or any other company), but is the company prepared to work with millennials? Is IBM ready to hear what millennials have to say and what they would like to see as part of their workplace experiences? These questions have no answers, and we keep searching for the most suitable work-life balance.
IBM has been quite successful in transforming itself from being a hardware manufacturer into a solutions and services provider (Chaker, 2006). Simultaneously, the millennial workplace has undergone a profound conceptual shift. We, the millennial workers, expect that our employers will invest time, energy, and resources to listen to and meet our needs (PwC, 2013). Still, we cannot be sure that companies’ activities in the current academic environment can suffice to motivate millennial employees to operate beyond their capacity at all times.
- Chaker, A.M. (2006, 12 Sept). Majoring in IBM. The Wall Street Journal. 1-4.
- PwC. (2013). A global generational study: Evolving talent strategy to match the new
workforce reality. USC University of Southern California.