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Managing the Multi-Generation Workforce Dissertation

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Updated: Sep 22nd, 2022

A literary review conducted prior to the research revealed the fact that scholars agree about the similar features of the Millennials (DelCampo et al. 2011; Hays 2014; Kuron et al. 2014). Their expectations are usually higher than those of previous generations and values are more specific. Previous studies supposed that these and other discrepancies influence their attitude to work in general and career in particular. Thus, the current study suggested a hypothesis that the peculiar features of Millennial population influence their behaviour as a work force.

The research was supposed to answer the major questions such as:

  1. Are there common features in Millennials attitudes to choice of work?
  2. What are the values common to the millennial generation?
  3. What are the expectations and perspectives of Millennials as a workforce?

Data Collection and Analysis

According to the initial plan, an interview was used for data collection. A semi-formal semi-structured interview was created to cover the issues under research. Most of the respondents were interviewed in person (36 out of 49). The remaining 13 people were questioned by the phone or through Skype. All interviews were recorded and then transcribed. After that, the calculations were provided to estimate the average age of interviewees and the gender correlation. Next step was to develop the codes which will be used for the interpretation of the obtained data. The codes correlate with the interview questions and help to assess the answers of the participants. Thus, the code words used to analyse the material from the interviews include: “degree,” “current work,” “ambitions as a student,” “job expectations,” a good manager,” “a negative manager,” “job conditions,” and “career perspectives.”

The second step of data analysis comprised the description of themes and relations of various concepts mentioned in the interviews. One of the methods used in this study was the research of repetitive phrases and words in the answers of respondents. This method allowed to reveal the similar answers to the questions together with unique responds.

The third step included summarizing the information obtained through the interviews. It is the last stage of data analysis which compared the obtained results with the previously set aims and objectives. This part of data analysis underlines the main results. The data analysis will use a narrative description to present the results because it is a qualitative research.

Research Population

The population of this study includes representatives of Millennial generation born within the period from 1990 to 1998. Thus, these were young people aged 19-27, in other words called late Millennials. There were 50 participants invited for the interview. Nevertheless, one of the planned interviewees refused before the data collection stage. Thus, there were 49 respondents from the number of college or university graduates. The average age of interviewees is 24,6 years. There were 26 women and 23 men, thus gender distribution of interviewees was almost equal. However, the gender aspect is not meaningful for the current research. As for employment details, 16 interviewees were graduates looking for a job and 33 participants were already working after graduation. 18 people reported working part time together with looking for a steady or a better job. 31 of the participants already work full time.

Obtained degrees
Diagram 1. Obtained degrees

The average work experience of the respondents was estimated at 2,8 years. The shortest experience was 2 weeks and a person with the longest one has already worked for 5 years. The working experience included both part and full time work for any company. All 49 participants have college or university degrees in management, arts, sciences etc. More than a half of the participants have Bachelor’s degree, one third has Associate, and less than one fifth have Master’s degree. Refer to Diagram 1 to study the degree correlation of the interviewees. About 20% of the research participants plan going to college or university to get a higher degree in the nearest 2-5 years. They explain such intentions as necessary for professional growth or change of the sphere of professional activity.

Research Findings

The research proved findings of previous studies about high ambitions of Millennials. For example, DelCampo et al. stated that Millennial career expectations include opportunities for a career growth, increased income, self-realisation, etc. (2011). Thus, more than 40% of respondents admitted they expect quick promotion because they are good professionals. For example, some participants remember their student ambitions such as “my ambition was to become a big boss” or “I did not want to stop my education, so I needed more time to dedicate it to self-improvement.” Such approach can seem too self-reliable, but career and professional growth are crucial for Millennials. Their self-confidence becomes a moving power in the career development. They do not work just to make the living but search for possibility of continuous development. Almost 60% expect employers to provide opportunities for self-development and further education. This aspect is necessary for high job satisfaction. Low job satisfaction in its turn is one of the reasons for changing a job. About 70% of Millennial respondents expect high appreciation of their work. Need for praise and approval of their actions is very strong among Millennials. Worthy salary and bonuses can be variants of material appreciation. Thus, interviewees mentioned the following: “I would not object to material appreciation such as bonuses,” “financial aspect is important for me. If a specialist is properly payed, he or she would not look for another vacancy,” “timely payment will be good” or “worthy payment is also stimulating.” Thus, together with inner motivation, outer one which includes payment for the job is among the decisive factors in Millennial work performance.

The expectations of Millennials from their work are also higher than average. Due to self-confidence, they believe they are worth of the best vacancies. The position duties of the Millennials are to be interesting and the tasks should be challenging. Most of the respondents mentioned they will be bored with routine. Thus, Millennials can be good for dynamic work. They need possibilities to demonstrate their skills and abilities including creativity and knowledge of modern technology. For example, respondents say that: “I have been always interested in unusual tasks,” “I did not want any routine,” and “I love unexpectedness and opportunity to demonstrate creativity.” On the whole, Millennials need challenges and possibilities to demonstrate their priority.

Their managers have to be professional and experienced but preferably young. Millennials find it easier to deal with the representatives of the same generation because they can understand each other better. Moreover, a good manager for a Millennial employee should not interfere the process of work without necessity. At the same time, a helpful and easy-going manager is preferred to an authoritative. The following examples from the interviews illustrate the previous conclusions: “a negative manager is authoritative and incompetent,” “a good manger should not demonstrate superiority,” “a good manager should be fair and understanding,” “a good manager should be demanding but fair,” “a good manager knows the specific character of work and does not interfere” and similar responses. Thus, managing Millennials is another challenge for the employer.

Job conditions are also important for the representatives of this generation. For successful job performance, Millennials need an understanding manager, smart and experienced colleagues to ask for advice in case of necessity, and opportunities for self-expression. Another aspect valued includes bonuses for good work or working extra and modern equipment in the workplace. It correlates with the previous findings. Thus, the literary review revealed the facts meaningful both for practice and further investigations. First of all, it suggests that pre-career Millennials may be interested in companies that focus on “collegial work environment and socially responsible culture” (Kuron et al. 2015, p. 1001). Secondly, Millennials will rather choose a position that provides interesting tasks together with “work-life balance, job security and the information workers need to do their jobs effectively” (Kuron et al. 2015, p. 1001).

Millennials are known to change jobs often and easily. Diagram 2 represents the percentage on Millennial attitude to changing a job. Thus, only one quarter of respondent admitted they plan a career within one company. The majority (42%) reported readiness to change a job in case they are not satisfied or their interests change. 18% are sure they will change a job some time and 14% have not decided yet. This information should be considered by HR managers who hire Millennials and want to keep them in the same position.

Attitude to changing a job
Diagram 2. Attitude to changing a job

The interviewees see their perspectives either in their current job which is the proof of their proper choice, or in the further education. They know what they want and are able to find a suitable work soon after graduation. Thus, they say: “I think I am already in a perfect job,” “I am satisfied with my career here,” and “I am satisfied with what I have at the moment.” Those who still want some improvement in the issue of career state that: “I am planning to get Master’s degree,” “I am going to continue education and get Master’s and Doctoral degrees,” “I am planning to continue studies for Master’s degree,” In a year or two I was promised another promotion within my company.” The satisfaction of Millennials with their positions suggest a supposition that they are more careful at selecting an education institution and the career possibilities than the previous generations. Even in the case they appeared to be not interested in the selected direction, they are decisive and change specialization easily.

Discussion

On the whole, both current research and the previous studies on Millennials in the workforce prove that they are different than other generations. Thus, more representatives of this generation go to college or university and as a result, they are more educated. These differences also include the aspect of employment. Their peculiar features influence their behaviour as employees. This fact is both positive and negative because it makes Millennials productive workers but is challenging for employers. Millennials proved to be more ambitious and demonstrating higher expectations from their jobs. Even in search of a better opportunity they work. For example, Millennials can start working part time and simultaneously apply for a job of their dream. Any job possibility is considered to be a useful experience. Although they give much attention to education, the representatives of the Millennial generation go to work with any degree. In the case they want or need another degree, they continue education, sometimes combining it with work. Moreover, Millennial employees are more efficient when their work is appreciated and their efforts are praised. They need a proof that they are not working in vain. The appreciation can take various forms. Thus, it can be a money bonus or praise in words or the title such as “employee of the month” etc. When underestimated, Millennials’ job satisfaction decreases. In case they are not satisfied with the current position, most of Millennials can change it without regret. They are not stuck to one position similarly to representatives of previous generation. It is common to go to work to another city of even another country. Borders are not essential for these young people and progress is crucial for this generation. When their development stops, they get bored and lose their brightness and efficiency. Consequently, the representatives of the Millennial generation need a constant challenge to face and the acknowledgement that they are doing right.

For managers dealing with Millennials, it can be recommended to consider generation peculiarities both during hiring process and work organisation. It can be done in the following ways. The ambitions of Millennials can be used during work because Millennial employees are likely to solve more complicated problems with proper motivation. Millennials need transparent career perspectives. If they see promotion opportunities, they will do their best to get them. Most of Millennial representatives need professional and personal development in their work. That is why the employer should be ready to provide opportunities for continuous education. The satisfaction is also important for them. Thus, it is necessary for HR managers to analyse job satisfaction on a regular basis and provide opportunities for self-development for Millennial employees. This approaches will make Millennials an efficient workforce able to meet the challenges of the market and contribute to the company’s success.

Reference List

DelCampo, RG, Haggerty, LA, Haney, MJ & Knippel, LA 2011, Managing the multi-generation workforce, Gower, Burlington, VT.

Hays, DW 2014, ‘ Examining differences between Millennial and all employee levels of job satisfaction and importance and satisfaction with the immediate supervisor relationship’, International Journal of Managerial Studies and Research, vol. 2, no. 8, pp. 1-7.

Kuron, L, Lyons, S, Schweitzer, L & Ng ESW 2015, ‘Millennials’ work values: differences across the school to work transition’, Personnel Review, vol. 44, no. 6, pp. 991-1009.

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