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We are going to summarize a video provided by Simon Sinek, who has said and shared a lot of things we have already discussed in our newsletters and blogs...
Born 1984 and after, Millennials are accused of being entitled, narcissistic, unfocused, lazy. They do, however, want to work with a purpose, they want to make an impact, they want free food and bean bags (not necessarily the last two, just seeing if you are paying attention!). Yet, give them everything they want, and they are still not happy (truthfully, has anyone really been happy about getting anything, never mind everything, when always easily gained?).
This unhappiness has roots in their upbringing, in their use of technology, their impatience, and our environment...
- The failed parenting strategies in which they were raised provoked more long-term problems than resolved. Let's face it, the parenting styles used to raise this generation tried to circumvent several principles everyone knows is true, some of which are: You reap what you sew, you can't sharpen a knife on a sponge, facing the pain you are going through today will minimize an even greater pain later. Instead, the parenting styles that were chosen focused heavily on issues that mostly could have been resolved over time that would have provided lessons learned early on in life. Those early lessons would have provided opportunities to build character which would have prepared their children for life after school, for the real life. This costly mistake has resulted in a generation that has, as far as we know, the lowest self-esteem than any previous generation. This means there are a sufficient number of Millennials, who are now the largest portion of the workforce, are going to need direction and guidance in overcoming an inhibiting lifestyle from what has essentially not been their fault.
- Next on the list of root causes of the Millennials unhappiness is the lack of balance in using technology. This imbalance has allowed Millennials to filter nearly everything around them. This filtering process has kept them from really conversing which would lead to developing meaningful relationships, has kept them from learning how to work in teams, and has kept them from learning how to develop trust. They do this filtering via technology as it feels good. A Harvard study, completed in 2012, has shown that dopamine is released anytime one talks about themselves through social media (if not familiar, dopamine is the same chemical released when we smoke, drink, or gamble and the release of dopamine forms an addiction when it is not tempered). As the use of social media can provide a high level of dopamine, it makes social media and cell phone usage highly addictive. Truthfully, it is comparable to being provided all the smokes, alcohol, and gambling they wanted at a very young age. Yet, we have restrictions on smoking, alcohol, and gambling and none on the smartphone and social media usage. As a result of what amounts to a full access to a quick fix during the childhood and adolescence, what has been permitted in their childhood and adolescence has created an entire addictive adulthood generation that is numbed by a chemical called dopamine. And they are addicted in their personal lives, their work lives, their social lives, every level of their lives. Like ANY addiction, this dependency has deprived them of learning how to form deep meaning relationships as well as how to cope with stress that comes into their lives. Like ANY addiction, they are not turning to a person but to a device. This has lead to a higher rate of depression in a young generation. These addiction traits, however, can be stopped when one sees the value of a life outside of their addiction -- only now there is a higher level of pain involved as a habit needs to be broken, and new disciplines formed to develop new habits. The good news is they will be all the better for it.
- Millennials are an impatient lot. Any time they want to do something, it is almost always immediately available for their participation - watch a film, read a book, ask someone out on a date, even ordering something on Amazon. This results in the failure to learn the life skill of being patient. This has minimized the social coping mechanisms all previous generations had to learn. Everything is instant gratification... except for job (or career) satisfaction and strength of relationships. Millennials have not learned that social coping skills are slow, meandering, messy processes. They have also never been taught that the most treasured and valuable things in life are arduous, long, and difficult in gaining. All this amounts to never having learned how to build joy into their lives.
- Lastly the traditional company environment of short-term gains and funneling employees into positions where they either sink or swim will, with Millennials, result in a labor shortage never seen before. As Millennials want to learn, want to perform, want to make an impact, the traditional environment is not only unnecessary but minimizes the honing and growth of these desires. And their willingness is half the corporate battle, as many who have the hard skills do not have the proper soft skills that are necessary to carry out the hard skills successfully and fully. Companies need to learn how to teach Millennials how they can build confidence, how they can learn the skills of co-operation, how they can learn to overcome the challenges of a digital world while also finding a sense of balance, how they can learn to overcome instant gratification. All this will provide everyone -- the older generation, the businesses, the Millennials, the joys, impacts, fulfillments, and trust that one gets from working on something for a long time. We can not correct the problem we have created with the Millennials by using the same thinking that created the problem in the first place -- we have to think differently, which means actions must be different as well.
How can we, as leaders for the Millennials, do all this? Well, we ourselves have to relearn, and in some cases learn anew, the principles, laws of life, and the means that builds character. This is not something that should ba balked at -- there is a blessing to be had by us as people, businesses, as well as the Millennials as all will become stronger as a result, and that blessing will be in direct proportion to the effort put forth. This is a principle of relationships that transcends cultures, generations, genders, even IQ levels.
If you are interested in seeing the entire conversation by Simon Sinek, just click here.
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In the past few years, work-life balance has given way to a more all-encompassing term – work-life integration.
While there are a few definitions in literature, personally, this means having to think about your family and personal life as a driving motivator behind the work that you do and seeing work tasks share time with friends and loved ones.
Despite the seeming inevitability of work-life integration and the benefits that come with it, the extent of these overlapping boundaries and effects differ across industries and employees.
For many baby boomers, work-life integration may well be an unwanted necessity, while for many millennials; this may be a well-received choice.
However, with every benefit comes an unwelcome consequence.
img cr gravityglue.com Michael Grab
What Can Cause Problem Can Provide an Answer
To many employees, this new trend may mean having to be available 24/7 with little control over their personal life.
It may mean working too hard, too fast and too much, perhaps ironically, being less productive and focused.
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Yet, the very tools, platforms, and means that have enabled work-life integration can also be used to mitigate the negative effects of this phenomenon.
On the hardware front, technology may enable us to work anytime, anywhere.
But these systems can be redesigned and configured to say, restrict the extensive use of email outside of regular working hours, for example.
Mobile and desktop apps and all sorts of productivity tools can be developed to help sync and manage their calendars.
The use of professional social media platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor can be used to either encourage companies that effectively integrate work-life harmony policies and systems, or “name-and-shame” firms that skewed too much to either end of the spectrum.
Technology: Enabler versus Empowerment
Moving into the realm of change management and total rewards, and work design, every management level – from the C-suite all the way down to middle and junior management – needs to be convinced of the merits and downsides of work-life integration.
Most policies succeed or fail based on how they’re implemented.
Likewise, work culture only changed when technology was embraced as means to empower and was actively championed and utilized by management.
Training can be provided for especially older employees to help better utilize technology to help them achieve balance.
Employees can be rewarded in terms of productivity bonuses, awards and the like, for the amount of work instead of how many hours they put in – regardless of where or when they do this work.
Work functions can be re-designed such that different groups of staff would get designated “Predictable Time Off” (PTO), in which employees would enjoy the stability or time periods that they can choose to “switch-off” completely from work.
As more firms adopt such practices, employees would also need to get buy-in from their families and friends – hence reaching out to these key stakeholders through “Family Days” and other work events would help change skepticism into support for work-life integration.
The Last Word
Work-life integration is here to stay.
While ever-changing industry needs and the increasing expectations from clients and customers demand a greater commitment to delivering, better utilization of technology and a change in mindsets from the top down will enable us to tip the scales back to protect our precious PTO and in favour of a better quality of life.
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- Managing Work-Life Integration
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- Millennial Performance Reviews: Thoughts from a Millennial
- Aspirations of a New Generation – the Millennials
- What Your Leadership Talent Pool Says About Your Company’s Future
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Daryl Boey previously worked as a Learning & Development lead with Temasek Polytechnic, an Institute of Higher Learning in Singapore.
Daryl is now a graduate recruiter for a large American Corporation in the Southeast Asia and is looking to strengthen his experience in learning and development as well as organizational development.
During his off hours, you will find Daryl being an active church volunteer as well as training as a marathon runner.