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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Johnson

The Millennial Opportunity

It is estimated that, by 2020, the fabled millennial generation will represent more than 50% of the global, digital workforce. By 2030 or 2035 (depending on who you listen to) that will be 75%.

By what year then, do we deem it likely that half of those who sit in our board rooms will be millennials?

These aren’t my stats, but they bear repeating. The millennial generation – which I happen to be part of – are here to stay and are well on the way to changing the face of business.

The differences in working habits and motivation have been much discussed by thought leaders, like Simon Sinek (the excerpt about millennials from his 2016 IQ talk has over 9m views on YouTube), but it’s worth remembering:

  • Millennials are driven by values, not by money

  • Millennials crave engagement more than position

  • Millennials want what they do to matter.

Of course, there are exceptions, and like with any generation there at those that represent the ‘lazy entitled’ cliché, but the majority fit the profile of employees who don’t think or respond in the way many employers are used to.

The good news is, this context presents a powerful opportunity for business owners and influencers, and there is still time! Many are already looking at ways to better engage these employees, but put simply in order to retain them, employers and managers need to keep these employees engaged and productive… They need a purpose and a clear vision to pursue. They need the carrot, not the stick.

If employers can provide that and start to think in more ‘millennial’ ways, the potential is there to change the face of how businesses operate. Just think, if these young workers are the future of your business – they are the future of your customer base, too.

The most exciting thing for me? SMEs. The backbone of the European economy, with the dynamic potential to lead this transformation and wrestle back some of the emphasis and weight placed on the corporate model and large enterprises… By doing so, they can also start to not just attract, but retain the best employees, and those employees in turn can deliver their best work.

So – could the next 25 years be when the small businesses gain greater significance and influence? Start small by being clear on our vision and purpose… ensure we recruit people who can share that vision and get behind it, look after our employees as well as we look after our customers, and I earnestly believe we could see a sea-change in the way employees and employers relate and an increase in the impact they can have.

If you’re a Director in a small business, some questions:

  • How old is your youngest Director?

  • How old is your youngest employee?

  • How are you reacting to the digital age in your recruitment and training methods?

Business is evolving, and we have the opportunity to be at the cutting-edge… look out, world. SMEs (Small Millennial Enterprises…) are on the rise!!

A small disclaimer… One of the most ‘millennial’ people I know, is over the age of 60! Perhaps ‘Millennial’ should be considered a frame of mind, rather than just an age bracket?

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