They’re here. The Net Geners, today’s youngest and fastest growing employee group, make up 25% of the U.S. Workforce.(1) Also known as Generation Y or Millennials, the Net Generation was born between 1978 and 1994.(2) Having been raised with laptops, smart phones, social media, and instant messaging, they love technology and are fiercely independent. They want instant access to everything and a fluid balance of life and work. An nGenera Insight survey found that half of Net Geners consider flexible work hours to be a critical factor to accepting a job offer. They strongly believe in continuous training, and they don’t respond well to cookie-cutter management approaches.
Sound intimidating? If so, you’re not alone. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 61% of chief executives report having trouble recruiting and integrating younger employees. As Baby Boomers retire, finding ways to engage this generation will only become more critical.
Here’s what you must do:
1. Develop a recruitment and employee engagement process specifically geared toward a multigenerational workforce.
2. Leverage technology to give employees 24-hour access to company information. Gartner Research forecasts that by 2014, social networking will replace email as the primary communications hub for 20% of business workers.
3. Improve the technical skills of your existing workforce. This is also an opportunity to engage your Net Geners, as they are probably most qualified to teach tools like social media to older workers.
4. Design a blended training approach for your employees, employing tools like web-based learning, mobile apps, gaming, as well as traditional classroom training. According to PwC, 35% of Net Geners consider excellent training programs to be the top benefit they want from their employers.
Be proactive about transferring institutional knowledge to your Millennial employees. After all, they are the future of your company.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics
2. Some demographic studies those born as late as 2000.