Millennials – own research

For my recent master thesis, I’ve conducted own research, to answer the question about how millennials influence changes in the way’s companies are managed. The hypothesis behind the presented research says that millennials as a growing group of employees in companies have a very large impact on changes in management methods.

The subject of the research were companies from the business services sector. The companies have been selected from the members of the largest association of business services sector companies in Poland. ABSL is an association of over 200 companies employing over 170,000 employees. The aim of the study was to estimate the size of the millennials group in the surveyed companies and their impact on the companies in which they work especially in the context of management methods.

The research was conducted in the form of a CAWI survey. The answers collected were anonymous from the group of people to whom the survey was sent. The survey was conducted from March 3 to 11, 2020. The survey was sent to a selected group of directors or HR managers / specialists of selected companies.

As part of the study, the respondents received 10 questions to confirm or deny the hypothesis presented. The answers came from respondents from 10 different companies, out of 50 questionnaires sent out.

In the first question, the respondents were asked about the participation of people aged 25 to 35 in the total number of employees. The answers showed a significant share of millennials in the group of employees for companies for which information on the percentage distribution could be drawn from the answers.

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The KPMG report from 2017 mentioned in earlier blog posts predicted that millennials by 2020 will constitute 50% of employees, and by 2030 this number will increase to 75%. The presented analysis shows that in 8 out of 9 companies surveyed this indicator exceeds 50%, and the average for the presented companies is already approaching the indicator of 75%. The collected results confirm the research assumption that millennials are a large group of employees, which plays an important role in the total number of employees of the companies from the business services sector.

The purpose of the next question was to understand whether companies are building a coherent employee management strategy related to age differences. The answers collected for this question show that to some extent companies are trying to build their strategy and relations with employees, noticing the needs related to age groups, but they are not limited to age, they  expand them to the social and family context of employees.

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The next question examined the respondents’ perceived challenges in working with millennials as employees. The most frequently appearing answers are presented graphically below.

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The most frequently mentioned challenge related to generation Y as employees was involvement, which concerned both the issue of involvement in the relationship with the employer and in relation to the tasks performed. As a result, we can mention the answer regarding loyalty to the employer and organizations that are a challenge, keeping in the employee in the long run. In this context, one can recall the Deloitte report cited in earlier posts. It shows millennials great openness to change employers. Another important element mentioned was the need for frequent feedback that was presented in earlier posts as well. Especially regarding the need for positive feedback.

In this context, one should also mention the negative feedback response, which focuses on the problem of accepting just negative feedback. The next two answers relate to confidence in quickly acquired knowledge, and thus questioning authorities and questioning the existing situation, which was also discussed in earlier chapters. These elements largely address the need for change in internal communication and search for new channels and ways of communication with employees. An often-recurring element was the issue of the distribution of time at work from private time, and more precisely the search for a balance between professional and personal involvement. Another element mentioned was the group’s claim to meet the expectations.

The next question was about the positive qualities that millennials bring to the organization. Some of the positive features presented coincided with the previously mentioned negative features, which was marked as a positive challenge that has a good impact for changes in organizations.

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One of the most common answers was about the ease with which the millennials adapt to changes at work. With this element, it is worth combining answers regarding open communication and the emphasis they put on it, as well as cooperation with new technologies that are not a barrier for them. Especially since the Y generation puts the will to develop and learn. The creativity and innovation mentioned in the responses can also be linked to the fact that millennials as a generation question corporate language or authorities, which was mentioned on the occasion of negative issues. This means that they want to develop further and look for new solutions, which is noticed and appreciated by employers. It is built on confidence, which was mentioned in earlier chapters, which results from adolescence and relationship with parents. Employers also note that millennials have a positive impact on both the atmosphere at work and the dynamics of work. An approach was also indicated to a balanced division between work and personal life as a positive example. The paradigm changes, we live to work, we work to live.

The next question refers to the issue of employer branding and the actions that companies take in its framework to meet the expectations of employees and improve the image of the company as an employer. Respondents list the various actions they take. Below is a list summarizing the answers collected.

  • The most important element on which the company focuses is the work environment in the organization, directly affecting employees.
  • Flexible working hours have been introduced
  • Activities under CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) are undertaken, involving employees in activities
  • Diversity promotion activities aimed at involving employees from different social and ethnic groups, different sexual orientations and ensuring work in a safe environment
  • Programs targeted at university graduates to encourage them to read the job offers
  • Paid internship programs
  • Participation in various events and conferences as an organization and enabling its employees to participate in them
  • Promoting goodwill and relating the actions taken to the overall corporate culture of the employer
  • Emphasizing internal communication using new channels
  • Continuous analysis of employee needs and adjustment of benefits in line with the results of conducted research

The sixth question was to examine what the cause of the initiatives undertaken was as part of employer branding activities. First, companies react to changes in the labor market and trends that appear in various organizations. Their goal is to maintain their attractiveness and respond to reported needs. Some changes are introduced in response to employee demands. One answer shows that this is a matter of generational changes taking place in the organization. One answer concerned the dynamic growth of the organization and making the employer more attractive to potential candidates.

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The next question examined whether management has access to dedicated training on generational differences and how they affect companies, in which respondents work. Most companies offer such training to the management of organizations.

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The next question was to check whether changes were made to non-wage benefits to better respond to the needs of different age groups. Here, the votes of the respondents were evenly distributed. Half of the companies try to adapt the offer considering the age differences of their employees. The other half of the organization tries to build a range of benefits regardless of the age of employees and maximize it individually.

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Ninth question checked whether the changes introduced in the organization and functioning of the offices could have resulted from meeting the needs reported by millennials. Among the answers, there is the question of responses to market activities, but most respondents note that they result from a generational change and the need to meet the expectations reported by millennials.

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Respondents mention as part of their answers the main elements that have been introduced as part of the changes referred to in the question.

  • Introduction of remote work opportunities (in two companies)
  • Introduction of flexible working time (in two companies)
  • Desks for standing work
  • Chill room, a room for rest and relaxation
  • Modernization of the office and organization of a kindergarten for employees’ children
  • The gym

The last question checked whether companies are taking any additional actions with millennials in mind. Most companies focus on the implementation of the projects mentioned above and activities under global in-house programs.

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Respondents mention as additional activities

  • Actions to improve well-being at work
  • Activities under diversity & inclusion programs, promoting diversity, and involving various groups in joint activities, promoting mutual understanding
  • Promoting cultural diversity and improving communication
  • Integration within teams and companies
  • Enabling dynamic career paths and the ability to change development directions
  • Promoting work-life balance
  • Providing resources for eLearning and personal development

The tests confirmed the correctness of the hypothesis. Millennials are a significant group of employees and have an increasing impact on changes in organizations. Companies recognize the expectations of generation Y and try to address those. They want to be an attractive employer on the market by taking care of their image both for current and potential employees.

millennials as employees

For millennials, an important condition for choosing an employer or producer is commitment. Engagement understood on many levels. Involving employees or consumers in the organization’s activities, supporting initiatives outside the workplace. For millenials, both perspectives, employees and consumers are put on an equal footing, and companies must maintain balance in planning their activities as part of the mission, bearing in mind that the company’s employees are also the closest consumers. Philip Kotler in “Marketing 3.0” notes that: To sell a mission (…), companies must propose a mission in which they promise transformation, they must create thrilling stories to support it and engage customers to accomplish this mission together.

26904043416_a2e7b1fb08_c.jpgSo what are the expectations generation Y has from their employers? The aforementioned social commitment, at the level of the local community or in a broader perspective, such as Microsoft’s declaration of reducing its carbon footprint from the beginning of the company’s existence. Internal grants that allow groups of close associates to implement projects to improve the quality of life in the immediate area, such as painting classrooms or organizing community vegetable gardens in housing estates or supporting animal shelters, are becoming common practice. An important aspect is the cooperation between employees and the company sponsors the materials needed to implement the action.

17163266906_a25d3d58e9_c.jpgIt should be remembered that the adolescence of millennials and their entering adulthood is a mix of “analog” childhood and “digital” teens. It causes, that generation Y places socialization and building interpersonal relationships very high in the hierarchy of its values. They have the desire to create a kind of family at work, who spends time together not only performing professional duties, but also have fun out of the office. Hence, they enable, support the organization of such meetings by providing space in the office or expanding employer branding teams, whose one task is to build history and develop bonds between the employee and the company, but also between the employees themselves. Employees as the “consumers” of this content are later the best advertisers for new potential job candidates.

Employer branding teams are becoming a necessity for most companies. The actions they take have measurable financial effects. Although their marketing projects aim both current employees and potential candidates, generating cost, ultimately they contribute to lowering higher costs related to finding and employing suitable job candidates. Their goal is to give employees a sense of home from the company they work for. Very often they use social media in their activities. They are to involve employees who eventually become brand ambassadors and provide information on positive actions of the employer further encouraging more people to become candidates for work. New potential employees start to apply themselves, making it is easier and faster to find the right people for the job.

In addition, some companies at the center of their corporate values ​​often put team spirit or, like Salesforce, a philosophy derived from the culture of Hawaii, Ohana, which means a family in which the company includes not only employees, but also customers or suppliers. This shows how much new employees and their approach influence organizations.

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Support is another important element expected by employees and consultancy in the next stages of their professional development. This expectation shows that they want to develop and draw on the experience of elders. It also shows that they expect support in an ever-changing world and advice on how they should evaluate their decisions in the context of their strengths and directions in which they want to go. Ultimately, it shows the need for communication within the organization also in the form of mentorship. Through relationships with someone more experienced, ready to help and seeing, appreciating the employee’s progress. It does not always have to be someone who is much higher in the organizational structure, often the millennials themselves, who have longer experience perform well in these roles. Generation Y sees as an important element of cooperation in companies socialization, which is to take place not only at work, but also outside of it, employees of this age group want to celebrate success together. Both large and small. The most important aspect is the shared positive experience. Nevertheless, employers must pay attention to this element, because it shows millennials, to what extent the company perceives their effort, contribution to achieving a common goal.

An extremely important element in relations with millennials is communication, which should be two-way communication. Generation Y likes to get involved and understand. They want to be sure that the work they do has a positive impact on the company and makes a significant contribution in its functioning. In addition, they are happy to engage in all possible activities and initiatives to improve the functioning of the team. Design thinking sessions are becoming more frequent, during which invited employees of the company with different experiences, from various departments, trying to find solutions to complex problems in the company. One of the important elements of Google’s internal policy is to encourage employees to spend 20% of their time on projects that they think can have a positive impact on Google. This has been happening since the very beginning of the company’s operation. Some of the company’s main products began in this way, AdSense, Google Maps, Google News.

These elements regarding millennials’ approach to work ultimately require a new approach in terms of supervisors who will no longer be required to carry out the project from point A to point B. Managers with millennials should focus on ensuring conditions for cooperation and communication, giving the chance to work out the best path. Although this does not always work, those elements are important for the Y generation such as transparency, listening and collaboration can bring more benefits than using and reproducing patterns.

45064629294_fa6a51fa41_c.jpgThis generation is familiar with technology and can take advantage of the new opportunities it brings. This allows them to perform more tasks and monitor more parallel projects. Task-based work mode provides motivation, but also lets you enjoy your free time. It also creates new niches for project management monitoring programs like Asana, Microsoft Planner, Scoro or monday.com. These elements contribute to the fact that Generation Y is the most productive generation among employees. What seems important from the perspective of employers is to provide them with the right tools to work and make employment forms more flexible.

Articles that inspired text above:

  1. Kotler, H. Kartajaya, I. Setiawan, Marketing 3.0,
  2. Smith, Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030, https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2020/01/16/microsoft-will-be-carbon-negative-by-2030/
  3. Page, S. Brin, 2004 Founders’ IPO Letter, Google, https://abc.xyz/investor/founders-letters/2004-ipo-letter/

coronavirus chances – business perspective

There are industries that were heavily hit by novel coronavirus outbreak. I gave some examples in my previous post on coronavirus threats (you can follow this link). However, every downfall for markets opens chances for others. This crisis is no different. There are industries and companies that are thriving or will grow in near future.

To mention first eCommerce, especially marketplaces. As we are forced to stay at home to protect ourselves and others, we shift our shopping experience to internet. Online shopping experience developed for most of the companies in recent years become their main channel of sale with all its limitations. For most of the companies this is not a prime sale channel and currently not able to cover the gap created by lockdown. Nevertheless, companies that offer marketplace solutions allowing to access wider group of consumers will benefit from current situation. Supported by intelligent client targeting they will be able to offer sellers working channel while making their margin over the sale. Online sale now is equally needed for fashion with AI enabled “fitting experience”, car manufacturers with extended virtual reality car setup tools. The question that stands out is if we will move at larger scale or need for shopping experience will be stronger and will wait this all out. Nevertheless, we can expect number of sale & clearances especially in fashion to see companies hoping to turnaround accumulated stock to regain partially cash flow. Amazon expects to hire 100,000 workers to fulfilment centers.

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Movement in eCommerce needs to be supported by logistics and delivery thriving in current market situation. Having in mind that everything now needs to be moved globally between factories and target markets supply chain and logistics become crucial in securing business flow. This is in the situation where both supply and demand were hit by novel coronavirus. Factories mainly located in Asia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia were shut down threatening demand. On top of that demand was hit by change of shopping experience but mainly but refocusing of clients from luxury goods, fashion, entertainment to food and hygiene products. There is a need to grow local delivery teams supporting local food suppliers in direct sale, couriers who will deliver online shopping or even local shopping for those in lockdown.

Companies who are in entertainment business mainly in streaming are expecting increase in viewership. Their main worry is to have enough interesting content and closing on new productions where possible to keep the people interested and online. Nevertheless, longer lockdown may significantly impact production calendars which may be seen in viewers numbers in coming months. Another part of industry that is growing is online gaming. Even F1 racers to keep focused are moving to online tournaments. This business is expected to grow and companies who are enabling players around the world with equipment and access like Sony via PlayStation, Microsoft via Xbox or Google with Stadia premiere are expected to gain from current situation.

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A lot of use noticed the increased demand for online, remote working experience. Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx, Google Hangouts and Zoom are seeing increase in usage counted in millions of new users. Solutions that enable companies to make project flows, communication ongoing and teams focused with usage of new tools from Microsoft 365 like Planner or tools from companies like Scoro, Slack, Asana, DocuSign, Salesforce and many others are already experiencing interest in tools available. New clients are expected to stay for longer as new world of remote working is expected to stay with us for longer. Not to forget that this is key place to showcase value of the cloud across companies that were reluctant till now. Microsoft, AWS, Google and Cisco will utilize their strong cloud base to grow their businesses further.

Last but not least in times of health crisis is always pharma. Companies are working to get drugs and vaccines as quickly as possible available globally. Already millions of dollars are coming in funding to secure fast track for coronavirus related research and trials. Number of labs are chasing the time but not as usual we are seeing collaboration across researchers sharing results and discussing potential scenarios and finally sharing work. Some are working to develop new solutions, other are testing to speed up the global effort. Close to pharma would be all the health startups that are offering new telehealth solutions. Connecting patients with doctors regardless of the place. The more it’s related to new equipment the better for the startups. Teladoc gets additional funding from the market. Solutions like HIGO can see bright future ahead with connecting doctors’ availability with personal checkup tools allowing doctors to give well informed diagnosis or recommendations.

As the usage of online is increasing it gives big chance to grow for telecoms, broadband connectivity providers will see increase demand on the services and a lot of pressure to maintain availability and quality of the service. Investment in 5G will allow to secure new demand.

There are industries that are on crossroads. They can see current situation as a chance or as curse.

  • Personal banking – reluctant to invest in digital solutions allowing customers to full online service without unnecessary visits in branch will see quick decrease in customer numbers. Banks that offer fully digitalized solution connecting more even outside from standard banking and offering quicker and safer payment in eCommerce, giving better client experience will be winners.
  • Manufacturing – lockdown is closing factories; this will impact production but also force companies to invest in automation solutions to make them people dependent as little as possible. Question now is what will future proof manufacturing
  • Education – online solutions are posing new chances for education availability but key elements to be successful is quality of the content as well as output tool flexibility and finally ease of connectivity. This may also change in the future the way we see education and how we will validate its quality across future teams.

Time of crisis always possess great threats to jobs. Nevertheless, it always positions chances to win to companies that have wider portfolio and were using more channels to connect to customers. The key questions for all of us is how long the whole situation will last. The shorter the better. Time of crisis is also a chance for innovation.

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Articles that inspired text above:

  1. https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/not-all-is-lost-some-businesses-are-thriving-during-covid-19
  2. https://amp.thenational.ae/business/technology/coronavirus-sectors-thriving-despite-the-economic-gloom-1.997795
  3. https://nocamels.com/2020/03/coronavirus-economy-5-industries-thriving/