Millennial labeling, generalizations, and stereotypes have run its course. They are no longer the little brother pestering the older siblings, but are now running businesses, organizations, and influencing the presidential election. Whether millennials are the stereotypical annoying little brother or the powerhouse running business, millennials simply want the millennial talk to end.
One of the many cries of the millennial generation is INCLUSION! They don’t want to live on the island isolated from the rest of society. It is time to advance our conversation beyond stereotypes, assumptions, and age-specified characterizations. It is time to embrace the inclusion of modern society instead of ostracizing millennials.
Modern Context Pushes for Inclusion
The modern work context, which is largely populated by millennials, is looking for acceptance, collaboration and inclusion. Millennials simply have a large voice, but this is a modern context matter that impacts all generations, not a millennial matter. The world is becoming more diverse by the day. Millennials were the first to be raised in a world expanding its reach through the internet, social media, and video communication, but they were not the only people experiencing this expansion. Today, whether you live across the globe or across town, you can stay connected. Global citizenship has become the norm and it is one of many driving forces for inclusion.
Modern Workplaces Must Prioritize Inclusion
Often, businesses operate in silos, segregating the workplace into distinct generations and departments. The modern organization dismantles the dividing walls. Today’s employees – of all generations - expect transparency and authenticity from an employer. Millennials are simply vocalizing what has become a modern way of living.
Millennials are no longer unique, but rather the driving force to modern society, the modern context, and the modern employee. The modern employee can be 45-years-old with 20+ years experience at one single company or 23-years-old right out of college. The modern employee is not determined by age. I recently spoke with Kieran King from Skillsoft, who I will be co-presenting with in a webinar on debunking millennial myths, “Millennial stereotypes fail to hold up to scrutiny. The differences among generations are terribly exaggerated, creating numerous misconceptions that are harmful to an agile workplace.”
Benefitting From Inclusion In The Modern Workplace
1. Increase Employee Engagement. Division can kill culture and lead to disengagement, a real problem in the workforce today. The greater the degree of separation and division, the greater likelihood of internal conflicts, grudges, and employee disengagement. Separation devises against engagement while inclusion saves it. When work culture promotes inclusion and eliminates separation, reducing the possibility of disgruntled employees. Employees have the freedom to make up their own story when too many matters are hidden at work. The modern employee builds trust towards businesses, managers and co-workers. The stronger the dividing walls that exists, the harder it will be to prioritize inclusion within a business.
2. New Opportunities Will Be Embraced. Inclusion develops a culture of belonging. With the modern employee conditioned to experience change daily through updates, advancements, and inventions in other areas of life outside of work, providing workplace development and new career opportunities can be a great fix to employee turnover. The modern employee will keep looking for their best position, but if they love the company and value the learning they receive, they will look within the business for their next opportunity. Insource by providing new opportunities within the business rather than outside of your company.
3. Building For The Future. The modern employee needs to be a part of the conversations planning for the future. When identifying your market opportunity and ways to grow the business, there is no one better than the up and coming buyers. Your modern employee will have insight, understanding, and a different perspective than the longstanding executive team. Building a culture of inclusion communicates openness and desire to hear different voices. This inclusion could be the very ingredient that leads to success in the future for your business. Put inclusion as a priority in order to build for the future.
4. Cultivate A Workplace That Attracts Top Talent. The growing ability to communicate a company’s brand to the public is influencing business’ depth of top talent. Sites like Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, and Monster.com have opened the door for future employees to examine workplace cultures—good or bad. Future employees are researching how you interview, how you pay, and how you manage your business. If your office is closed off, operating with a heavy hierarchical hand, and stifling ideas, your future workplace is in jeopardy. To attract top talent, you must cultivate a culture that embodies an openness to diverse ideas.
Build A Culture Of Inclusion
Many leaders will read this article and think about redesigning their office. Inclusion does not equate to an open office floor plan. Find out what your modern employee is wanting. Include your employees and managers in the conversation before moving forward. At the end of the day, build a culture of inclusion to attract today’s modern employee and watch the growth of your business take off.