The ‘What’ of Millennial Consulting:
Millennial consulting or Inter-generational consulting is an emerging HPT concept that deals with assisting organizations to restructure the workers’ mindset, work, work process, and organizational structure to successfully achieve their strategic business goals by leveraging the diverse talent of the five different generations of workers by 2020. The new concept helps organizations to achieve value-added business results, obtain ROI, and become sustainable.
Organizations are rapidly progressing toward restructuring the workplace to accommodate the needs of their multi-generational workforce by the year 2020. The management of organizations should ensure to restructure their organization at the operational, tactical, and strategic levels in order to harness the talent of various generations of employees. They should have a clear comprehension regarding the diverse personalities possessed by the five different generations of workers to do so.
A simple infographic created using Adobe Illustrator and Easel.ly (for images) to illustrate the design of learning for a multi-generational workforce of the 21st century is depicted in Figure 1 below.
The ‘Why’ of Millennial Consulting:
Millennial Consulting plays a significant role in assisting organizations to decode the diverse mindset and personality traits of the 21st century workforce. Thereby, organizations can manage the employees that have five different personality traits effectively and efficiently by 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has categorized them under five different generations based on their year of birth (Meister & Willyerd, 2009). They are Traditionalists (Born before 1946), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1976), Millennials (1977-1997), and Generation 2020 (Born after 1997). The personality traits of these five different generations of workers are shown below:
- Traditionalists: They are the eldest generation of workers that have a traditional mindset. They are well-known as the “Write to me” generation as writing is their preferred mode of communication. They communicate actively to memos, letters and prefer access to training materials in written format such as training workbooks, and employee handbooks. They strongly believe that hard work is the means to gain the respect of their managers and colleagues, and strive to achieve it at work. They enjoy and derive self-satisfaction by transmitting their vast workplace knowledge, experience, and skills to their younger counterparts in the form of mentoring and coaching. They feel appreciated when their colleagues request their opinion and suggestions on important work-related aspects.
- Baby Boomers: They are the next eldest generation of workers as compared to the Traditionalists. They are well-known as the “Call me” generation as they prefer oral communication at work. They tend to respond effectively to oral communication and prefer access to training materials in an oral format such as audio books, podcasts, audio clips. They are workaholics, believe in equality, and are eager to try new avenues in the process of re-inventing their profession. They are comparatively younger as well as possess work experience.
- Generation X: They are chronologically younger compared to the previous two generations. They are well-known as the “e-mail me” generation as they prefer a shortened form of written communication at work. They are less formal in nature than the previous generations. They are very hands-on and prefer on-the-job training compared to formal training. They possess the tendency of not accepting the opinion of their supervisors/managers blindly without reasoning or questioning.
- Millennials/Generation Y: They are the next younger generation to Generation X. They are well-known as the “Text me” generation as they are tech savvy and prefer an informal and extremely short form of written communication at work. They are very informal in nature and do not tend to respect or listen to their supervisors just by virtue of their designation/position. They tend to question the authority of their superiors and expect a lot of freedom at work. They are good at multi-tasking rather than focusing their attention on a single task at a time. They are non-conformists and prefer informal communication for learning at work. Therefore, they learn well when new information is transmitted in an informal manner.
- Generation 2020: They are almost similar to millennials, but more tech savvy as compared to them. They are well-known as the “Connect with me” generation. They are the youngest generation to enter the workforce. They learn well when new information is provided in bite-sized bits through text messages, mobile learning, and social media platforms. They enjoy communicating and connecting with their colleagues on various social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. They also tend to learn better when the learning material is provided both in audio and visual forms such as YouTube and Vimeo videos, and podcasts.
The ‘How’ of Millennial Consulting:
Millennial Consultants can help organizations manage the diverse personalities of an emerging 21st century workforce to develop, retain, and harness their talent by incorporating the following best practices into their work routine:
- Mentoring and Coaching the younger generations: The Traditionalists and Baby Boomers should be encouraged to transmit their vast knowledge, skills, and work experience to the younger generations through Mentoring and Coaching. This will help the diverse generations of employees to be acquainted with one another instead of being isolated. Thereby, it results in better communication and collaboration among diverse generations by exchange of thoughts and ideas related to workplace best practices. This intervention also helps with knowledge management and succession planning as the more experienced workers can train and prepare the future leaders of their organization prior to their exit from the workforce. Finally, they experience a sense of self-satisfaction by being able to channelize their vast knowledge and experience appropriately, while the mentees can obtain timely feedback regarding their performance.
- Collaboration and Team Work with diverse generations: The management of organizations should encourage the employees of diverse generations to form teams and collaborate with each other to complete various projects at work. These techniques will assist employees with diverse personalities to cooperate with each other to complete team projects. They will also be able to learn from the strengths of their teammates along with compensating for their own weaknesses in the process of completing the projects successfully. Thereby, they pave the way for better communication and help workers with different personalities to get along well in spite of their diversity.
- Job flexibility and Autonomy to retain diverse talent: The management of organizations should provide job flexibility and a certain amount of autonomy by allowing their employees to work remotely or from home by leveraging the advancement of technology to help them establish and maintain a work/life balance. This will enhance the loyalty of younger generations for the organizations. They also tend to perform well and improve their performance when they feel trusted and are not micromanaged by their supervisors.
- Informal & Mobile Learning, Gamification, and Reverse Mentoring: The younger generations prefer an informal work environment. They also learn well when they have access to just-in-time on-the-job informal learning opportunities in the form of short scenario-based learning modules on their mobile devices. They enjoy learning new skills through gamification, which provides hands-on experience in a virtual reality (VR) environment, as they are tech savvy. They derive self-satisfaction when they have an opportunity to transmit their tech savvy knowledge and skills to the elder generations by Reverse Mentoring.
- Social Media Learning, Job Rotation, and Constructive Feedback: The younger generations learn effectively by reading the short-form blog posts that are posted on various social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, along with watching ‘How-to’ videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Therefore, organizations should establish and maintain an informal Community of Practice database on such social media platforms. This will help the experienced employees to update the database regularly by writing blog posts and uploading work related videos to share their thoughts and ideas that worked well for them to complete a process or task at work. The less experienced and/or new employees can learn the best practices related to a process or task to be performed at work by reading such blog posts and watching related videos. They can also post their comments and/or questions to seek further clarification. This will also help the new employees that are hesitant to open up and clarify their doubts at work to learn well and improve their work performance. Job Rotation helps the younger generations and new employees obtain hands-on experience by working in various departments of an organization. The managers should ensure to provide constructive feedback to help the younger and new employees gain confidence and improve their performance at work.
Bringing it all together:
Therefore, we can conclude that Millennial/Inter-generational Consulting is an emerging concept of HPT that assists organizations to develop, retain, and harness the diverse talent of a multi-generational workforce of the 21st century by understanding their diverse personalities and devise methods to motivate them. It helps to reduce ‘The Clash of the Multi-generational Workforce’ and increase ‘Collaboration and Coordination’ among them. Therefore, organizations can leverage the strength of a diverse workforce to obtain ROI and become sustainable, instead of dwindling from its weakness by implementing effective ‘Change Management’ strategies.
Can you think of any other ways in which Millennial Consultants can help organizations harness the diverse talent of a multi-generational workforce? If so, please respond to this post with your comments below.
Meister, C. J., & Willyerd, K. (October 16, 2009). Are you ready to manage five generations of workers? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from https://hbr.org/2009/10/are-you-ready-to-manage-five-g/