There’s little doubt that the current Millennial invasion will continue to shake up workplaces across the United States. But how will this generation impact and improve the way we work? Who better to answer that question than Millennial HR professional, Joe Hill?
Joe explains, “I got interested in HR while traveling after high school. I was in a leadership program and found that extracting human potential was a passion of mine. HR seemed a natural fit for me.” Joe is currently working in HR at SanDisk and was kind enough to answer a few questions about his generation and how he sees it impacting professional cultures.
One big shift Joe’s noticed is that Millennials aren’t intimidated or put off by HR representatives. This comfort with HR is a bit of a shift from previous generations. He believes that technology has something to do with that. Because many administrative tasks are being handled through self-service tools, team members are beginning to see HR professionals in a different way. Today they’re seen as collaborators, and facilitators of social engagement and career development.
Joe suggests, “It’s a much more positive relationship. I’ve seen Millennials less focused on their benefits and employee data and more on that social component.” That change in attitude is just one of the shifts he’s encountering.
How Millennials are Changing Policy, Programs, and Workspace
Progressive and inclusive HR policies just might earn a company loyalty from team members. Hill believes that Millennials see pride in their company as a top priority. Employee benefits that impact not only the majority but also the minority communicate social responsibility and care for your community’s well being. Millennials want to feel pride in the company they are committed to, and Joe believes they will gravitate toward organizations that offer comprehensive coverage.
He explains, “There are many rich benefits plans out there but employers don’t necessarily cover many of the specialized benefits like in vitro fertilization or fertility drugs.” He also mentioned gender-neutral bathrooms and disability benefits as policies that impact minority groups. Millennials could influence major change by expecting employers to provide benefits that protect the minority as well as the majority.
Joe is seeing Millennials drive change in performance management. This generation is finished with the idea of report cards in the workplace. Those once-a-year check-the-box employee evaluations should be a thing of the past. “Millennials benefit from real-time feedback and a program that has the infrastructure for goals that can change.” Evaluations need to be ongoing with coaching-type check-ins. They should happen in real time and avoid forced rankings that can be made to feel unfair and political.
Connection is key. Tear down the (cubicle) walls! Joe explains why, “Growing up in a hyper-connected world, Millennials want to stay connected to people and open concept offices make a lot of sense.” Of course that doesn’t mean team members don’t need any space to focus. The proper infrastructure — electrical outlets, portable screens, privacy pods, available industry specific equipment and tools — will support productivity and success.
“These open concept offices adopted by companies like Facebook and Zenefits meet that hyper-connected requirement. But, to avoid employees burning out and being overwhelmed, private areas to focus should not be in short supply. As with most life questions, a balance is in order.”
As Millennials continue to advance through their careers, it will be interesting to see how these possible changes manifest and develop.
What HR changes are you seeing in your workplace community as a result of the increasing number of Millennials in the workforce?