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Team-Building: Working With Millennials, Part 2: Technology, Tattoos, & Shifting Cultures
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Team-Building: Working With Millennials, Part 2: Technology, Tattoos, & Shifting Cultures - Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: Working With Millennials, Part 2: Technology, Tattoos, & Shifting Cultures

Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: Working With Millennials, Part 2: Technology, Tattoos, & Shifting Cultures

Just about every organization has a number of employees who, in addition to doing the jobs they were hired to do, have assumed responsibilities that match up with their particular skills, talents, and interests. An accountant in the business office has become the official party-planner because he’s organized, he gets along with everyone in the company, and he loves a good shindig. Someone in personnel seems to have an almost cosmic understanding of the photocopier, so not only is she called upon to problem-solve weird malfunctions, but her input is sought when it’s time to order new office equipment.

Similarly, because of their unique relationship with technology, the Millennials in our companies often find themselves in unexpected roles as unofficial tech support, helping more experienced colleagues with everything from lost emails to getting iPads connected to the office WiFi. Where many seasoned vets in the company shy away from new versions of software, Millennials are inclined to embrace new technology. “Frequently, in my office,” said one survey respondent in Lauren Rikleen’s You Raised Us—Now Work With Us: Millennials, Career Success, and Building Strong Workplace Teams (American Bar Association, 2014), “I have been the ‘go-to’ person when it comes to technology. From simple things such as making sure the computers have all necessitated updates to converting files … I seem to be the building’s private tech support.”

The ease with which Millennials handle technology even when it’s not a direct, stated part of their jobs, means a whole generation of tech-savvy accountants, trainers, secretaries, managers, and hirers, the kind of multi-abled talent valuable to any organization as the newest computers and mobile technology become necessary components of just about any endeavor.

Now: are you willing to watch an enormous chunk of that talent walk out the door over flip-flops, tattoos, facial piercings, and Instagram?

Many organizations face this question as they deal with a generation of employees who don’t see a connection between one’s attire and one’s ability to perform. A Huffington Post article cites a survey by Adecco (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/24/millenial-biggest-interview-mistake_n_1910103.html) that says Millennials’ biggest mistake in job interviews is showing up dressed inappropriately. While it’s certainly important for job candidates to take their interviews seriously enough to dress well, when a whole generation of potential hires is eschewing expectations, it’s likely an indication of a shift in values and not just an epidemic of cluelessness.

A 2010 report by the Pew Research Center says that 40% of Millennials have at least one tattoo, with half of them sporting multiple tattoos. One in four Millennials has at least one piercing in a bodily location other than an earlobe. What were once seen as acts of rebellious expression have become mainstream, if not in your office building, then at least right outside the front doors. The same survey says eight in ten Millennials sleeps with a cell phone within reach. The always-connected generation expects to communicate immediately with friends and family all the time, and that includes in the workplace. It is a normal part of their everyday lives, something that can be fought, tolerated, or embraced.

How is your organization dealing with this shifting culture, and how will it adjust as Millennials become ready to take their steps into the upper tier?

 

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Team-Building: Working With Millennials, Part 2: Technology, Tattoos, & Shifting Cultures - Executive Leadership Articles

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