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Why Millennials Inspire Us to Be Better

Millennials now make up the largest segment in our workforce, and their attitude towards business is a little different than what we've seen in years past. But this is not one of those blogs that bash Millennials - quite the contrary. Millennials have an emphasis on people before profits. They seek out opportunities to grow and learn. They strive to maintain a pleasant work environment, and they enjoy being involved in the community and giving back. While these are all positive traits, it might be seen as challenging to integrate these dynamic individuals into a traditional workplace.

So what needs to change in the traditional workplace?

Over the course of our careers we spend a great deal of time at work. However, achieving a good work/life balance and having flexibility in the day are two important Millennial values. In order to maximize the potential of these employees, companies will do well to make room in schedules for board meetings, volunteer outings and professional development. We need to consider whether eight hours behind a desk really equals productivity, and perhaps challenge if "the way we've always done things" is truly the best path forward.

When it comes to the workplace, nearly half of Millennials say they would prefer to work with employees based on their professionalism, creative thinking and teamwork. Sounds pretty good to me.

Companies that only value "work for the sake of work" will struggle to retain Millennials. This generation is interested in excellence, experiences and collaboration. The tech industry can be very challenging because of the constant change we are experiencing, but the challenges can easily be overcome when employees are given the opportunity to work with others and creatively solve problems. Millennials might not use the same approach we've been using for years, and they may find a better way. As a colleague and a member of Gen-X, I welcome these efforts because it means my day is better because of it. Let's give Millennials a voice and ask their opinions.

Why is change important?

By integrating important aspects that Millennials are searching for in an employer, we have the opportunity to earn their loyalty - thereby keeping their skills and talents within our organizations. There's no doubt that this will help companies innovate and be able to communicate with a wider audience of consumers. We can no longer assume that the status quo is adequate. The market to keep top talent is competitive, and I advocate for changing with the times; being proactive (i.e., getting the right people on the bus no matter their age).

How do we create the right environment at CQL?

In order to maintain a fresh, innovative workplace where Millennials are welcome, we support our employees' passions by giving them flexibility to serve on boards, volunteer at community organizations and engage in life-long learning. We sponsor their activities and participate in their events. And we come alongside employees to cheer them on. Read about Megan Sall's involvement with recent article by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

Go Megan go! (We'll make sure to get out of your way.)

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