OPED: Do Not Change Millennials, Let Them Revolutionize How You Do Business

The world is evolving, and millennials are taking over the world – on all fronts, more so in the business world. As a result, the working environment has changed significantly. In 2014, millennials had already occupied a significant amount of space within businesses, with half of them already in managerial positions. By 2030, the workplace will most likely be dominated by millennials and Gen Z – however, millennials will be leading these large organisations assuming the most lucrative positions across the totem pole. While baby boomers form a notable part of the workplace, the question then becomes how can we create an enabling environment that will assist millennials to be future leaders? What role do current leaders have in shaping tomorrow’s world and future?

Top only Approach VS Top-Down Approach

Businesses often focus on up-skilling senior management, and while there is nothing wrong with equipping senior managers with the necessary skills to lead, businesses are technically empowering people who are most likely to have retired by 2030. Businesses need to adopt a top-down approach by affording juniors staff with learning opportunities, which will most likely result in initiative that will see them being more involved in the training and development process – which will ultimately result in a more competent staff that is poised to assume responsibility post- the era of the baby boomers. The future of businesses now lays with millennials, and businesses need to be strategic, and invest more into this generation so as to enable a plausible successive future.

Coaching and Mentoring

Millennials are quite different from the previous generation, as they are more inclusive, and collaborate with their peers and counterparts with relative ease. However, research indicates that they tend to not want to work for a company for an excessive period of time and often demand flexible working conditions. Businesses need to provide mentors and coaches for these young people, to properly hone their skills and direct their energies. Businesses have an opportunity to change the mindsets of millennials, by adapting to how millennials operate, businesses are likely to increase the retention rate of millennials.

A shift from the bottom line to impactful work

Research shows that around 71% of millennials are more concerned about the environment, making a difference – pursuing CSI-related initiatives that prove to be socially impactful. Business leaders ought to learn from this group and adopt more measurable CSI plans to better position their businesses. Having millennials in meaningful discussions and meetings can enable them to understand the operations of a company while providing a fresh perspective that could speak to a market that the current business leaders have not yet explored.

Delegating and Involvement

Having already noted that this generation is different and want to make a meaningful impact and feel valued in their teams, it is crucial for business leaders to afford them opportunities to ‘steer the ship’. 

Millennials are set to change how businesses operate, and some are already making drastic moves and significant strides in implementing change. And for this ideal to work, the previous generation has to be willing to impart the necessary knowledge and wisdom, as they still have to do a lot of learning and up-skilling which primarily sits with the older generation. For businesses and previous generations to transform millennials into trusted and credible leaders, millennials also need to come to the fore with a teachable spirit.

Kagiso Mkhonza

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