A lot has been written about the differences between generations. As someone on the younger end of the Baby Boomers, much was written about my generation and how different we were from the generation that came before us. Now you can’t turn around without running into another article about the Millennials. I’ve written a few myself.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article that has a lot to say about how to manage and get the best out of your Millennial employees. It might not be obvious, but these ideas can energize you and your Gen X and Boomer employees as well. Entrepreneurs can’t afford to avoid change, and those of us who thrive are always adapting to the evolving landscape.

According to this article, for millennials to thrive, their work should provide purpose, flexibility, collaboration, and innovation at work. These last three elements have been written about extensively, and incorporating them into your company culture can provide great benefits for everyone from management to remote freelancers. Defining a company’s purpose, on the other hand, can be harder to pin down.

Traditionally, a company measured its success in dollars. However,

According to Deloitte LLP research, two out of three millennials say their organization’s purpose is a reason they choose to work there; in organizational cultures without perceived purpose, only one out of five is satisfied at work.¹ While they believe the pursuit of profit is important, less than half think it should be the most important achievement of a business.

I assume if you’re reading this, you already know the importance of finding your purpose. While true for everyone, this may be the first generation that has really prioritized purpose in the workplace.

Instead of thinking of millennials as spoiled, self-obsessed whippersnappers who don’t have the proper work ethic, we would do well to consider these four values a gift. Flexibility, collaboration, and innovation benefit everyone and are essential to retaining the best and the brightest of this growing workforce. Honing and defining (or redefining) your company’s purpose can invigorate the whole operation. Win-win.

Leave a comment and let me know how your company has adjusted to the younger workforce. And send me an e-mail at Scott@doubledareyou.us if you have questions about defining your purpose or integrating these elements into your company, and we can set up a time to talk.

Bonus: Check out this little video (31 seconds, you have the time) about the difference between a leader and a boss.
phphoto credit: taymtaym OKIMG_7289 via photopin (license)