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How Baby Boomers Can Coexist with Millennials at Work

Laura Criscione
The main workforce as we know it will be continuing to change in the upcoming years. This is because the next generation, the millennials, will be replacing the now working baby boomers. They already comprise 25% of the workforce in the United States and will continue to grow to 50% by the year 2020.[1] Millennials are different from other generations due to their clear use and understanding of technology and the digital world. About 41% of those surveyed would rather communicate electronically than face-to-face or over the telephone.[2] They have grown up with instant access to information from laptops, smartphones and social media always being at their fingertips.

Millennials also differ from previous generations in terms of achieving their goals and what they are looking for in a company to further their careers. They are on the constant look out for jobs that help them personally grow by challenging them with new opportunities. According to a survey, “38% of the millennials questioned who are currently working said they were on the lookout for new opportunities, and a further 43% said they were not actively looking, but would be open to offers”.[3] Despite those who already have a job, if they find a better offer elsewhere, they are more likely to leave. Millennials also want to do something worthwhile, working for companies that have the same values as them and participate in programs that give back to the community and environment. This generation is motivated by much more than just money, but personal development, growth and continual progression in their lives and careers. 

They want to be respected for the dedication they put into their work and the results that come about from it. They desire to learn and grow from others, instead of being told what to do from their boss. Millennials don’t want to work for you but rather work with you. These employees expect "greater accessibility to the leadership in their offices and are looking for more mentorship rather than just direction. Research shows that the number one reason millennials are likely to leave their current job is because of their boss". [4] Their main objective is to work for a company that helps them solve problems together as a team. They want to learn by getting constant feedback on how they can improve in the future. It isn't about getting things done quickly, but rather working together to come to a solution and learning during the process.

In addition, millennials want balance between their work life and home life. This balance is a priority as they do not want to be inundated with work until retirement. They are looking for careers that are flexible, yet rewarding. They’re more concerned about balance and democracy as they base their performance on the output of the work done instead of the total time spent on it.[5] Overall, if they need more time for work, they are willing to put in the extra effort but would rather not stay in the office if their work has already been completed. This illustrates that millennials value efficiency and don’t want to waste time. 

The millennial generation taking over the workforce in the coming years will bring many changes to businesses that they have never seen before. However, learning about these soon-to-be employees will allow for baby boomers to understand how they can coexist and work together to bring about a profitable business for the future.

By: Laura Criscione
Commerce Magazine

[1] "Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace." PWC. Nov. 2011. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.
[2] "Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace."
[3]  "Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace."
[4]  Fromm, Jeff. "Millennials In The Workplace: They Don't Need Trophies But They Want Reinforcement." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 6 Nov. 2015. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.
[5]  Fromm, Jeff. "Millennials In The Workplace: They Don't Need Trophies But They Want Reinforcement."


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