“Entitled,” “know-it-all,” “addicted to technology”—these are some labels that Generation Y – the millennial generation – has earned for itself at work. Many writers have pointed out that “millennials” have very different expectations and values than their older counterparts in the workforce.
Do these young workers have anything to add to the workplace?
A New York Times article by Tom Agan argued that they do, especially in the realm of technology, if companies are willing to listen and innovate.
At some companies and universities, smart leaders are already tapping into millennials’ abilities. For instance, when leading conference calls, one senior executive I know asks younger staff members to introduce the instant messages they send during the meeting directly into the discussion. Rather than keeping the two streams of information separate, he is intentionally encouraging and inviting the parallel conversation into the mix.
But while millennials are bringing innovations in technology, they are encouraging change in other areas as well.
If corporate cultures don’t align with the transparency, free flow of information, and inclusiveness that millennials highly value – and that are also essential for learning and successful innovation – the competitiveness of many established businesses will suffer.
God wants us to approach work humbly, with a spirit of creativity and openness to learning and innovation. Young people may find it helpful to enter the workforce listen to and learn from those who have more experience. Yet older generations may also find it helpful to tap into the creativity and innovative spirit of their younger counterparts.
How can we incorporate the gifts, talents, and insights of others in the workplace who might have different perspectives? Leave your comments here.