How Millenials Are Changing The Workplace


I recently delivered an on-site training course at one of the top I.T companies in South Africa. I didn’t have much expectation about the class I was going to train. I had been hinted though that I was going to be training university graduations, however in my mind I thought I would be dealing with a typical geeky bunch . . .so I had my “geeky guns” on the ready. I threw out all my well manicured training plan on Day 1 of the 3 day training workshop when I realized that I had a group of highly sophisticated “millenials” on my hands.

Millennials, is a catch-phrase that refers to a new generation of young professionals (18 – 2 4) that are entering the global workplace. This is young generation of people who grew up during decades marked with rapid globalization, industrialization and rapid transformation in technology. The forces that shape the world in which millennials grew up, is markedly different from the events and developments that influenced older generations, most of which are now mostly facing approaching retirement age.

Millennials, as such, have different perspective, and world view. One of my first challenges when I tackled my on-site training stint mentioned earlier, was to, in a very elaborate way, explain the importance of the course I was training them, and how relevant the skills thus acquired, will give them an edge in their line of work. Millennials face information overload from multiple technology platforms every day, therefore do not have much appetite in absorbing new information which they are not sure is relevant to them.

Millennials have also shown unique workplace habits. Millennials have also become used to the instant feedback of Facebook and other social networks, so they come to the workplace expecting similar feedback on their work. In terms of flexibility, Millennials know that technology like mobile phones allow them to work from virtually anywhere, so the idea of working 9-5 at a desk in an office doesn’t make a lot of sense.

“Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace,” a survey conducted by PwC, found that Millennials tend to be uncomfortable with rigid corporate structures and find information silos unacceptable. They also tend to like rapid progression as well as constant feedback.

Millennials have grown up with technology, so they are always quick to think about how technology can help us do our work smarter and faster.  People often talk about the concept of “co-mentoring,” where an employee from an older generation helps the younger employee learn about the work culture and processes and the younger employee helps the older employee manage technology and new tools at work


The Millennials are here to stay for the fore-see-able future. This is the time for organizations to develop policies and resources that can be used by Millenials joining the workforce . What has been your preference in working with Millienials?

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