Managing a workforce can be difficult under any circumstances, but it can be especially challenging for older generations trying to manage millennials.
From the way young adults interact to their professional preferences that include the ability to work remotely, millennials are much different than the nation's previous crop of professionals from their interactions to their working preferences.
Millennials will account for the largest percentage of the American workforce by the end of the year, according to the Millennial Mindset Study conducted by Mindflash, an online training platform . This means small-business owners should make investments in understanding this demographic, as attracting and retaining these job seekers could help a business prosper.
Concerns millennials have regarding business operations
The study, which polled 1,200 working millennials, revealed a staggering number of millennials say a "lack of company support for training and development" is the most shocking aspect of the professional world. To combat the lack of training, 88 percent of millennials stated they are willing to surrender a number of personal benefits - from taking vacations to changing coffee habits - to acquire the skills they need to compete in the workforce.
"Perhaps against conventional stereotypes, the majority of millennials are shocked by the lack of skills development available in the workplace today, and is committed to taking matters in their own hands," Donna Wells, CEO of Mindflash, said about the study. "This should be a signal for companies that both online training and traditional live training will be a critical component of harnessing the potential of these young professionals, especially with graduation season upon us."
While there's a perception among older generations that millennials are lazy or act entitled, millennials and baby boomers are actually more similar than most people care to admit, according to an article by Beth Knuppel, vice president of talent management at communications company Ericsson, for CEO.com .
People in both generations want to make a difference and are known to be optimistic team players, Knuppel noted.
However, many millennials understand they might be negatively stereotyped by older hiring managers. The Mindflash survey revealed 26 percent of respondents said the biggest misconception about their age demographic is that they don't know how to communicate after spending too much time with technology. The next biggest misconception among the survey's respondents was that millennials are too self-centered or overconfident.
What is important to millennials?
Another millennial study, this one conducted by strategic communications firm Capstrat, found many millennials aren't solely focused on padding their savings. When asked to rank life's milestones, starting a career was second only to getting married among millennial respondents.
While 30 percent ranked getting married at the top the list, 26 percent of millennials cited starting a career as a top life milestone. That means launching a career was more important than having children (19 percent), buying a home (10 percent) and buying a car (9 percent).
Recruiters should position their company with a healthy mix of work-life balance when trying to attract millennials, Capstrat recommended .
How to keep millennial employees
Business managers should consider taking a few simple steps to improve their understanding of their millennial workforce.
Conducting regular employee surveys, giving employees options and coordinating personality tests are three ways business managers can better relate.
Conducting a survey can give a manager or business owner a better idea of what employees want or need in the workplace, which could improve productivity. Meanwhile, asking workers to complete a personality test allows management to see what employees value and what motivates them.
Lastly, providing workplace options can be a great way to help employees feel like they fit in. This could include an optional day of starting late, working remote or casual dress attire. Finding common ground among employees and management is a great way to retain top talent, according to CEO.com.
. Millennials Report That the Biggest Shocker about the "Real World" is Lack of Training at Work
. Stop Talking About Millennials And Learn To Manage A Multigenerational Workforce
. The Truth About Millennial Workers