With the millennial generation now joining the workforce in huge numbers, the modern workplace is facing major obstacles. According to Calk and Patrick (2017), the “most current and theoretically biggest generation to join the workforce” consists of about 76 million people under the age of 28. This situation has presented major obstacles for human resource management as well as workers from other groups, including traditionalists (born between 1925 and 1945), baby boomers (1946 to 1963), and generation X. (1964 to 1978). These challenges are the direct consequence of differing values and belief systems among workers in the multicultural workplace as exemplified in the case study involving a millennial, Tony, who tenders a resignation due to “personal reasons.” In consideration of the potential drawbacks and benefits of the millennial generation, I would not accept his resignation as his immediate supervisor.
Benefits of the Millennial Generation in the Workforce
According to Alexander and Sysko (2013), millennial laborers are characterized by their value for autonomy. Such desire to work independently means that they are capable of working with minimal supervision to the benefit of their employer. For instance, Alexander and Sysko (2013) acknowledge that young graduates prefer studying their job descriptions comprehensively rather than have supervisors issues frequent reminders of their duties. They also prefer working in isolation and only solicit feedback after the achievement of set objectives. Tony’s case demonstrates this advantage given that is reported that he has been efficient regarding the performance of his duties in previous occupations.
Their tech-savvy culture is another advantageous aspect of the millennial worker that has practical implications for their work ethic. According to Graen and Grace (2015), their familiarity with technology and its application for work purposes create a conglomeration of less tangible cultural norms. For example, their obsession with items of technology such as mobile phones mirrors their eagerness to have knowledge pertinent to their job descriptions at their fingertips. Therefore, millennials are more likely than their older counterparts to adapt quickly to organizational changes and apply technology to productive use (Graen and Grace, 2015).
Drawbacks of the Millennial Generation in the Workforce
The millennials’ sense of autonomy may, however, affects their ability to build cooperative professional relationships at the workplace. This drawback is apparent in Tony’s case. His previous companies reported experiencing difficulties with his overly independent approach to work. In his current position, the senior members of his team have ostracized him on allegations that he is a weak team player who prefers working with technology more than he does with people. This situation reflects observations by Jiang and Hui (2016) who caution managers against the implications of hiring “dehumanized” youths who always stare at their phones at the expense of socializing with their peers. The effect is that they fail to fit into the social context of their companies resulting in sentiments of isolation and even ostracism as is the case with Tony.
Another disadvantage of the millennial worker is that they tend to be introverted with severe implications for organizational communication. Hackel (2016) observes that the millennial employee’s hesitance to express issues related to the dynamics of their workplace has been the primary contributor to the stress levels of this particular category of workers. Their obsession with mobile phones has resulted in the adoption of texting as the preferred medium of communication in both the social and professional networks. Consequently, they are less likely to articulate the problems that they encounter on a daily basis given that non-verbal communication lacks the critical aspects of communication such as facial expressions that help convey meaning more effectively (Hackel, 2016). Therefore, their introverted culture precipitates opportunities for unnecessary understanding which would not arise if they communicated verbally. Tony’s exemplifies this observation given that he opts to keep quiet rather than address than allegations regarding his perceived poor teamwork.
Thirdly, the millennial worker’s dependence on constant feedback may prove disadvantageous to their work progress. Research by Gulyani et al. (2017) reveals that millennials tend to link their ability abilities to achieve set objectives with personal fulfillment to such extents that their happiness becomes dependent on the outcome of their efforts. Therefore, they are bound to invest considerable emotional efforts to perfect their organizational roles. Their youth also implies that they are more likely than older generations to seek approval by soliciting constant feedback on workplace deliverables. As Gulyani et al. (2017) concur, the millennial is an emotionally vulnerable worker whose dedication suffers whenever they receive negative reviews on their performance. In Tony’s case, the negative rumors regarding his teamwork abilities make him feel isolated and prompt his decision to resign. Supervisors dealing with such workers may arguably have to devise innovative strategies to protect them from their vulnerabilities to maintain desired motivation levels.
Finally, millennials are disadvantageous to the corporate setup since they due to unparalleled ambition. It is observed that globalization has exposed the young generation to a variety of socio-economic opportunities with significant monetary awards. Millenials have also had access to more opportunities for education (Harrington et al., 2017). These factors may present substantial challenges since in that the millennial worker is more likely to change jobs in pursuit of more rewarding experiences or opportunities for self-development.
Tony is evidently a good worker given the previous positive reviews regarding this independence, adeptness to technology, and ability to socialize with his peers. However, like many millennials, he suffers from a variety of issues that complicate organizational management. Tony depends too much on himself at the expense of building positive work relations. He is also a poor communicator who would rather ignore issues that affect their performance at work than take the initiative to correct the situation. Tony is also emotionally vulnerable to negative comments from his peers, and this could affect his productivity in both the short and long terms. That he is overly ambitious complicates the situation further since he switches companies whenever the opportunity arises or when he thinks that a company’s policies are unfavorable to his circumstances. Given these significant issues, it is only reasonable that appropriate management considers him as more of a liability than an asset. On these grounds, his resignation should be accepted to preserve the social fabric and productivity of the organization in question.
Calk R., & Patrick, A. (2017). Millennials Through the Looking Glass: Workplace Motivating Factors. Journal of Business Inquiry, 16(2), 131-139.
Gulyani, G., Gulyani, G., Bhatnagar, J., & Bhatnagar, J. (2017). Mediator analysis of passion for work in Indian millennials: Relationship between protean career attitude and proactive work behavior. Career Development International, 22(1), 50-69.
Hackel, E. (2016). Let’s Take the Mystery Out of Training Millennials. Professional Safety, 61(5), 28.
Harrington, B., Van Deusen, F., Fraone, J. S., & Morelock, J. (2015). How Millennials Navigate Their Careers.
Jiang, X., & Hui, Y. A. N. G. (2016). Impacts of Optimism and Job Characteristics on Job Burnout among the Millennial Generation: Evidence from a Survey of Community Service Workers in Shaanxi, China. Revista de Cercetare si Interventie Sociala, 53, 185.