In the hospitality industry, Millennials represent 44% of the workforce. But as bright, energetic, and educated they may be, Millennials are often at the receiving end of unfavorable judgements. People fail to see how motivated they are and focus on popular perceptions of them instead.
Here are some of the things you may have heard about them:
Come on, admit it. You’ve been there and done that. When taking an interview, you’ve come across many a candidate who were smart and had all the right credentials, but something made you question whether hiring a young Millennials was in your favor at all. Would they be able to do justice to their role? Or would they skip out the moment they got a better opportunity?
You’re not the first employer to make sweeping assumptions about Millennials, and unfortunately, you probably won’t be the last either. But, if you considered the statistics below, you’d know that there’s pressing cause to re-evaluate your opinions about them:
As you can see, there’s no escaping the Millennials. It’s important to tread the middle ground here and try and understand what is important to Millennials and what drives their world view.
It’s Not Just a Job
Employers who really believe that Millennials are too idealistic about their job expectations, ask yourself – weren’t you?
At some point in your life, even you had hoped that your job would be something more than a means to pay your rent, that it would contribute positively towards your growth and well-being. Wasn’t there a time when you also wanted to make a difference in the world, instead of being tied down to a 9-to-5 existence that ended at retirement?
Our generation and the one after that became used to rigid corporate hierarchies and functioned as parts of a faceless whole. Collaborations were few and far in-between, and CSR was seen as a fad more than a value driven proposition.
Millennials see the world differently from us. They do not believe in giving up everything for financial stability. Neither do they offer up unquestioned loyalties to organizations. They want to do it all - have a great job, a healthy work-life balance, and contribute meaningfully to society.
Millennials Value Trust
The concept of building trust is really simple: it means being honest about yourself, the jobs your company has to offer, and the kind of ethos it works on. Your job descriptions, in particular, need to be more transparent and should also include how this role will benefit them, in addition to you.
If the image you project does not match with reality, if you make lofty promises and don’t keep them, Millennials are unlikely to stick around for long. This is especially pertinent to the hospitality industry where your employees will only be able to dispense services warmly if they’re treated right.
They Want You to Share Their Vision
Millennials truly want to believe that businesses are a medium for ethical, social change. They cherish their personal convictions and value it over their next paycheck. More often than not, they will refuse to do things that don’t sit right with them, or those that are morally questionable.
Over and above that, they also want to seek newer skills and look favorably towards those who are willing to provide that. Nurturing their talent and having a work environment that does not indulge in wrongdoing or sheer profiteering will be conducive to keeping them engaged and loyal.
Time is Precious for Them
Time is money, and Millennials take that saying pretty seriously. They like to use the time they have well, and do not want to sit around in the office even if they have nothing to do. This is why they’re more inclined toward remote working possibilities and collaborative working. Any tool or technique that helps with streamlining time is welcome.
So, instead of micromanaging them and constantly peering into their workstations, try and make the day productive for them. Engage them beyond the humdrum of everyday routine. Arrange for short trainings and workshops and make provisions for them to learn new skills on the job. They will love you and respect you for that.
They Need Work-Life Balance
Just because you had to spend your time in a grueling work routine during your lifetime doesn’t mean that Millennials will want to do the same.
Work/life balance is also very important for Millennials. If you incentivize things and show them that you value their life beyond work, you’re on your way to being a star employer.
They don’t want to spend their lives inside the office – they want to grow and thrive, and have enough time to devote to things beyond that. What’s the use of making money if you have no time to enjoy it? So, workplace flexibility is key for them.
Hierarchies and Medals Don’t Fascinate Them
Millennials do not think in terms of years. The world is changing at an awkwardly fast rate. From layoffs to governmental policies, from war to peace, from this trend to the next – nothing is permanent. So, they cannot be motivated by vague plans of growth or ideas of promotion or the lure of climbing up the hierarchical ladder.
Millennials believe in meritocracies. They also believe that applauding small successes is effective. Months are preferable to years and they like to be evaluated and rewarded at regular intervals. They thrive on feedback and are of the opinion that good work should be acknowledged time and again. Their job holds value beyond the promotions they will earn with each appraisal.
They Cannot Be Bossed Around
Whether it’s for good or for bad, Millennials are fairly irreverent towards authority figures. Being a boss will not earn you their respect automatically, and neither can they bullied around into doing something.
They don’t want people to control and command them, but would like managers who can coach them and help them grow professionally. Instead of the ‘Do-this-because-I-am-the-boss’ approach, switch to meaningful dialogues. Help them recognize the value of doing things a particular way, but also be open to suggestions that will improve the system.
In conclusion, if you want to get the most out of the new workforce of millennial employees, you need to adopt some flexibility in your work culture. Yes, they love their gadgets, but doesn’t that also mean they’re best suited for the technological revolution that is underway in the hospitality industry? Yes, they’re passionate in their ideology, but imagine what it would mean if they channeled that energy towards their responsibilities at work.
They say that the only thing constant in life is change. As the world around us takes new shape, we adapt to that. The Millennial lifestyle might seem alien to us, but it is possible to strike the right balance and use their strengths to your advantage. The future is going to be driven by the Millenials, and you can’t avoid them for too long. It’s best if you put aside your reservations and geared up to work with them.
Ram Gupta, the author is a hotel management graduate from India and Germany; He is a certified Hotel Administrator from U.S. and MIH from U.K. He has over 40 years of sound experience in the Hospitality, real estate industry in India, Dubai, U.K, Europe and Japan and is well versed with all areas of business including acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures, diversification, strategic planning, development and operations. He has been associated with over two dozen luxury and boutique hotel projects and has launched two hotel chains in India. He is currently an independent hotel consultant and could be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.bcgglobal.com
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