Transformational projects have traditionally focussed on managing the change management of employees in preparation for a particular event, e.g. technical change, restructure, cultural shift, etc. Over the past decade organisational change has become much more frequent and rapid, to keep up with competition and market demands.
You often hear the statements: employees are experiencing ‘change fatigue’ or ‘change apathy’ or ‘resisting’ the change. The desire to have a resilient workforce that is adaptable to change has led to companies investing in programs which build the change capability of their employees.
Millennials, born between 1982 and 2000 can potentially lead the way in change capability, as they have grown up in an ever-changing environment from technology to fashion trends. They are used to adapting, comfortable with authority figures and confidently ask questions. ‘Millennials have grown up changing all the time; they deal better with change, because it’s almost in their DNA,’1
Change professionals and managers can harness this transformational force and learn from millennials’ values and attitude to foster an agile workforce in the following ways:
Millennials are the natural ‘change champion’, as they don’t shy away from change, they thrive on challenges to keep them motivated. They can encourage and inspire others to change.
Concise communications with interactive features. Where possible, mobile devices should be used to communicate change as the average millennial looks at their mobile on average 43 times a day2.
Investing in social media forums such as yammer can be a powerful forum to disseminate information, receive feedback and promote discussions regarding accomplishments and challenges. Millennials can lead the charge with the uptake of these tools, as they are only effective if used by management and employees on a regular basis.
Enabling a learning and growth mindset of your employees. Millennials are known as the ‘wanderlust generation’3, where they are in a constant mode of exploration, whether it is a new sport, gadget or travel. Having a thirst for knowledge and being open to learning is synonymous with experiencing less stress when faced with changes. It is also associated with more success in learning new skills.
With the number of millennials increasing in the workplace, change and training solutions need to consider how to best leverage this demographic, i.e. riding the wave of their energy and excitement, to enhance your organisation’s change capability.
1. Brad Karsh, Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference (2016)
2 and 3. How Will Millennials Transform Organizational Change? Change Management Review (2016)
How the Gen Z mind-set is transforming the nature of employment. Robert Half (2016)
How the workplace needs to change for Generation Z. Meg Osman (2015)
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