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Posted by Parveen Dhupar on November 21, 2017

Are you a millennial? If you were born between 1980 and 20 years after, you are!

Today, as millennials approach their peak employment years, they have also become the largest generation in the workforce - outnumbering Generation X and Baby Boomers and making up approximately 25% of the population [1]. With a population this size graduating post-secondary school and moving into their careers, millennials have caused quite a stir in the traditional workforce, met with a mixed bag of resistance and acceptance.

This brings us to part two of this series - What Keeps an Entrepreneur Up at Night? millennials in the workplace. After all, they are going to be a part of our business – it is up to us to decide if we are going to be the ones scrambling to adapt, or embracing this generation and all they have to offer. 

Kids these days

As the late journalism professor Margaret Blanchard observed in 1992, older generations who clash with today’s society seem to forget that they survived the same attacks on their morals when they were young. Each generations' adults either lose faith in the ability of their young people or become convinced that the world is much more difficult and dangerous than it used to be [2].

In other words, generational differences are not new, and it is not that millennials are narcissistic, it is that they are young.

There are many parallels we can draw between the way Generation Y and Baby Boomers were treated to the way millennials are today. While some businesses and media outlets will argue that millennials are too entitled or too lazy to handle the traditional workplace, others have used this as an opportunity to be critical of the workplace as we know it and embraced a new model.

Change is inevitable

Millennials are setting the tone for working in the 21st century, so it should be no surprise that things are going to get shaken up. Especially when we consider that millennials are our most educated, underemployed and carry more debt than any other generation [3]. They grew up with technology and it now follows them everywhere. They emphasize experiences, workplace flexibility, balance and are breaking down traditional hierarchies that used to rule the workforce [4].

What’s an entrepreneur to do?

Making your business millennial-friendly has added benefits as it is likely that there isn’t one person on your team that would say that they don’t want connection and purpose at work. By embracing millennials, you get a large pool of resources in return.

You can make your workplace millennial-friendly by:

  • Encouraging connection with team building activities, social events and work perks

  • Demonstrating open communication by offering encouragement, constructive feedback and a less a formal review process

  • Loosening the hierarchy by cultivating a “one team” attitude

  • Celebrating collaboration with open floor plans, communal tables and lounges

  • Offering workplace flexibility without stigma

  • Empowering them by providing opportunities to contribute to the success of the business

Whether your staff is all millennials or you haven’t taken the plunge yet, you bring out the best in your team by getting on their level and creating an environment that sets them up for success. Your business will thrive with them, though it could require adaptation and embracing changes that could seem counterproductive or scary at first.  

As entrepreneurs, staying current and progressive as the workplace changes is the difference between an inspired team that works for you, and roadblocks down the line. Millennials are here to stay, so creating an inclusive environment where all generations can thrive together starts with you.

Is your workplace millennial-friendly? Contact us to learn about how millennials make up a part of our team! 


[1]  Statistics Canada, 2015

[2]  Blanchard, Margret 1992

[3 ]  Forbes, 2015

[4]  Inc., 2016