One of the key aspects of the new boom-time economy in Cambodia is the fact that businesses need to learn to work with millennials. These are employees born after 1982 (and so reaching early adulthood at the beginning of the 21st century).
There is a drastic difference in how people in this demographic group have grown up, especially in terms of the adoption of technology and the expectation of social mobility.
Their technology savvy means that they are valuable employees as they can use technology to leverage their abilities, and even to up-skill themselves.
However, they need a completely different management structure to flourish. Many businesses in across the world are struggling to retain these employees. For most, they are using outdated management structures and techniques, based on an economy where hours worked matters more than quality, knowledge, and decision making.
This is a worldwide trend that spread later in Cambodia than elsewhere, but we feel the effects in full.
At Mäd, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to work with Millennials. We invest our time given that millennials are the vast majority of our workforce. We hire approximately 1% of people who send their CVs to us. This is a reflection of a large number of submissions we receive due to the particular work environment that we have created.
In a nutshell, we ensure that the organization’s goals align with the goals and lives of the people inside.
This means creating a Result Oriented Work Environment (ROWE). We can contrast this with a traditional work environment where behaviours like turning up at a certain time are important.
Of course, in this respect, we are discussing what is normally termed knowledge-work. We discount manual labour or the parts of the service industry (coffee shops, restaurants, etc) where time spent on the job is a good indicator of productivity.
So here are some tips on getting the best possible results out the millennial generation, and allowing them to flourish:
Freedom allows Millennials to flourish. Putting them into a box and micro-managing will only stifle their growth. This is because millennials are naturally ambitious, driven and motivated. Given the freedom to work, Millennials will generate results that are meaningful to them, as they repurpose the work according to their values.
Millennials work best when they are given clear goals, and then left to execute against those goals. This is also consistent with the idea of giving millennials as much freedom to work. In the end, the millennial will find a way to get the task done and deliver the results.
Trust is a key factor in any aspect of a business. But it is especially true for millennials and their work philosophy. In the modern age, where millennials are free to choose employers and have a stronger sense of mobility, trust is what keeps the millennials in the company. After setting clear goals and objectives, employers can leave the millennials to get their job done.
Because millennials are ambitious, they also carry a natural sense of responsibility. Working in a start-up culture, they have a strong sense of ownership to their work and to the business. They know that the business relies on their work and performance. They will deliver given the right responsibilities.
A Strong “Why”
Those who can share the reason why they want to be in the team will reap the benefits in the long term. At Mäd, we share a bond of liking what we do. Our reasons for being here are far from being financial, we are here because of a sense of satisfaction of working in a good team, of enjoying what we do, of achieving. Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” is an essential to the Mäd library.
Sense of Purpose
Furthermore, this latest generation needs more than a simple “do it because I told you so”. They require a strong sense of purpose that the work they are doing has meaning, that there is a clear reason behind it. That is “why” a strong “WHY” is crucial to keep the team’s vision prevalent.
As we live in the age of the social media, where millennials are connected in an intricate spider web of relationships, the last thing employers want to do is to disconnect. Millennials do need the space and freedom to succeed without micromanagement. However, employers must also understand their motivations and drive. Regardless of messaging apps, services and emails, the best way to connect to millennials is still face to face communication.
Perks for Millennials
The following are some ways to get the most of the Millennials:
Freedom to work away from the office
It all comes back to the concept of freedom. Long gone are the days where employees face a cubicle and the boss constantly taps you on the shoulder. The freedom of work also translates to the choice of workplace. Millennials often find that a change of scenery helpful, and good coffee is the best work companion. It is not uncommon to meet Mäd employees in coffee shops. Come say hello if you see us.
Unlimited Holiday Policy
Freedom, once again. Millennials are often guilty of not taking their vacation time, despite the more flexible schedule. Having said that, millennials are experts of working remotely. Given the conditions above, millennials will perform even if they do not have a physical office. Some of the most successful startups (for example, Basecamp) are built on remote workers, who are on the most part, you guess it, millennials.
Make them part of the process
Let’s face it, Millennials are good at their jobs. They are tech-savvy, ambitious and constant learners. There is nothing better than learning by doing, thus the importance of giving decision making to millennial employees. We have no remorse of sending our recruits, even interns, to voice out their design ideas to important clients. We want their input.
Furthermore, the sooner Millennials become part of the process, the faster they will grow. Millennials have the strongest sense of ownership to their work more than any previous generation. So why not get them there as soon as you can?
The Tipping Point
The following is a handy quote from Deloitte:
Millennials are less impressed by the sheer scale of a business, its age, or the general buzz that surrounds it. Based on a stereotypical view of Millennials, the profile or “positive energy” around a business might be thought of as being highly important to them.
Millennials are aware that the success of work to life balance lies on the value of the work itself. They value employers who give them the right perks on their job, and they reward them with incredible results.
It’s critical for any organisation that competes in the knowledge economy to be able to attract the best possible talent.
We’re looking forward to the up and coming Generation Z.