“Millennials are this,” “Millennials are that,” you hear it repeatedly. The truth is that what is happening in our workforce today is not really about the Millennial generation per se, but rather a much-needed change and evolution in the way we do business…especially in the U.S.
What is happening is more likened to Newton’s first law of motion, which states that every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
As I see it in the case of business and how business is conducted, Millennials ARE that external force! Over the last ten or so years, I have witnessed so many changes and advancements being made to the way that we think and approach a great many subjects.
As a whole, the workforce in the United States is making some great strides. We are keenly aware of the need to embrace diversity (although I think we still have a long way to go). I appreciate, however, that there is an awareness of the need. Minorities have been more welcomed into leadership and executive roles. Again, the general population still has a long way to go, but at least we are moving in this direction. Additional positive steps we are seeing are extraordinary advancements in technology. Today robots are performing surgery! Pretty amazing. However, in my opinion there are two areas in which we still have not proved advancement: religion and business.
I am not here to attempt a discussion regarding religion, but will address my views on business. Business is certainly one area where we have found it difficult to embrace change. While most business is still being run in the same way we have “always” conducted business, there is a force demanding change. This force just happens to be called Millennials.
It was bound to happen! A society cannot evolve in so many other areas while remaining stuck in a cycle where acceptable behavior includes overworking, serving only individual needs, paying more and more money to the majority (the white males at the top), and competitive work environments…we are pretending that these behaviors are good for the collective whole. They are not! (Please note I have nothing against white males...these are just the statistics!)
We should all, regardless of age, desire quality in our everyday work life, including:
- Work-life integration
- Collaborative work environments
- Purposeful companies with jobs contributing to the community or environment
- Trust and autonomy
- Profit sharing
Those of us who are not Millennials have somehow just accepted that work was “work,” and not supposed to be supportive, fair, purposeful, or balanced. Former generations raised by parents who had experienced financial hardships were taught that we were “lucky” to have a job and should therefore keep our heads down and mouths closed!
We needed a force! A force that is willing to stand up for what they believe in, and a force with the courage to walk out the door if necessary. The Millennial generation IS that force, and I applaud them with great enthusiasm. I only wish I had been born many years later, so I could BE one of them.
Its time that the business environment evolved, and I believe that both current and future generations will ensure that it does. “Business as usual” is about to change, and I am looking forward to seeing just how these changes will serve everyone!