Over the last few decades, numerous management trends have surfaced and become mainstream. Particularly, in the late 20th century, there was a greater emphasis on hierarchy, a well-established chain of command, consistency, delegation, and bureaucracy.
In today’s world, which is marked by rapid globalization, accelerating innovation, and nonstop competition, management trends are experiencing a shift. This shift is shaped by a new group of younger workers and managers, known as the Millennials. This article will explore this emerging trend and how it will shape the cultural landscape in the workplace.
Workers from Generation Y, commonly known as Millennials, are filling the younger end of the labor force in greater numbers. This demographic group is frequently defined as those born between1980-2000. The U.S Bureau of Labor statistics projects that in 2015, Millennials will comprise nearly half (46%) of the U.S. labor force and members of this group will be heavily relied upon to fill leadership gaps in many companies and projects that by 2030, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Relative to the other generations, such as Generation X (1965-1980) and Boomers (1946-1964), Millennials have a different view on how work should get done and the work environment needed to accomplish goals.
Millennials have grown up in the age of technology and are accustomed to seamlessly remaining connected. In the workplace, they have been characterized as valuing:
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Strong relationships and connection to peers
- Unconventional or new ways of thinking
- Mentor-centric relationships with their superiors
- Doing meaningful work
- Having a flexible schedule, and
- Being in an environment that is fun and inviting
Because these values somewhat depart from previous generations, Millennials are creating a different set of expectations that will drive trends in the cultural landscape of the workplace. Specifically, since many Millennials are replacing retiring Boomers in management roles, these values are trickling down to their management style.
Companies should expect that if Millennials are managing their organizations, there will be some key changes to how things are done, which will in turn affect their cultural landscape. For example, Millennials will likely build a collaborative team that is less focused on corporate hierarchies. This is a shift from Boomers, who are known to be competitive and Gen Xers, who are characterized as independent and entrepreneurial. Millennials believe that collaborative networks foster creativity and innovation and are less concerned with titles and status. Because they have grown up using resources like Wikipedia, social networks, and other technologies to share their ideas, they will implement this method as a part of their management style.
Millennials value flexibility in their job. This includes a flexible schedule, options to work remotely, and video meetings. 92% of Millennials want to work remotely and 87% want to work on their own clock. This is a departure from Boomers and Gen Xers who value face-time in the office. While many employers have historically been hesitant to let employees to work from home, it is projected that by 2019, 41% of the workforce will be working remotely. With Millennials as managers, working from home and on a flexible time schedule could become the norm. Moreover, less office face time means a new meaning for face time will surface. Millennials managers are likely to embrace video conferencing over face-to-face interactions in the future
In the near future, Millennials will be the majority in the workforce and will be leading our organizations. They are rewriting the rules of management, which will inevitably redefine the cultural landscape in the workplace.