Meet your new colleague: The Millennial

No matter where you work and what you do for a living, there’s a good chance that some time soon (if it has not happened already) you will be welcoming a new colleague - a Millennial.

The fact is that by 2020, Millennials will form 50% of the global workforce and thereby make up the largest new talent pool for recruiting companies. Talking about Millennials matters. Many consider  Millennials to be very different from previous generations and some even tend to call them controversial. At the same time, Millennials are numerous and account for the largest generation since Baby Boomers (1946-1964). So how can you expect your Millennial colleague to be like?


While it is clear that the well-educated Millennials will be a powerful generation of workers and those with the right skills will be in high demand – they may also represent one of the biggest challenges that many organizations will face.

Expect digital “turf” battles

Millennials have grown up with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media being the norm and they expect instant access to information. Digital technology is with other words at the very heart of their everyday life. However, the affection of Millennials towards digital technology is also often a catalyst for intergenerational “turf” battles in the workplace. Millennials simply feel held back by rigid or outdated working styles as they are adopting technologies much faster than the companies for which they are working. Working with Millennials, one of the most noble tasks for facility managers will be to keep companies and employees in general, technologically up-to-date, while creating a workspace environment, which can accommodate both the technology-savvy AND inexperienced generations.

Grow focus on flexibility, mobility and well-being

Besides being very focused on well-being and work-life balance, millennials expect organizations and future employers to provide them with the ability to work from anywhere, at anytime. This will introduce new challenges, which companies and facility managers must take into account, when designing workplace strategies. As a minimum, these need to be flexible enough to integrate technologically connected employees and virtual workers. Enabling employees to connect to the office from anywhere in the world through wired and wireless networks is one great step on the way. The other must be, to create an environment where physical absence from an office does not hinder a virtual worker’s social interaction with colleagues or their career path.

Think corporate responsibility into your processes

88% of Millennials look for employers with CSR values that match their own, and 86% would consider to leave an employer whose values no longer meet their expectations. Millennials want their work to have a purpose, to contribute something to the world and most of all they want to be proud of their employer. That is why they view brands that stress their environmental and social record as appealing on both the consumer and employer side of business.  As a response, companies increasingly need to integrate their responsibility to the community and the environment, in order to better brand themselves and to attract more consumers and employees.

This article is based on the ISS - New Ways of Working - the workplace of the future whitebook. If you want to learn more about the organisational changes that will influence our workplaces towards 2020, then read our 2014 survey.

What are your expectations of Millennials as both colleagues and employees? Share your thoughts and comments below.