Why Do I Have to be Here?

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businesswoman shrugging in front of computer at work Millennials and technology are quickly doing away with a lot of the conventional practices in business. This new generation of workers isn’t interested in a 9-5, full-time job. Because there are so many of them entering the workforce as the Boomers leave, they are in a position to change the way we do business for a very long time.

Millennials are less interested in upward mobility in a company, and more interested in self-employment, part-time or freelance work. Freelance workers enjoy time, flexibility and freedom –three very hot commodities. According to a Millennial Branding report, 45 percent of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay. Millennials are less interested in a paycheck, which up until now has been the main bargaining chip for finding top talent.

These new workers have leveraged their numbers and talents to change the way we do business. Skilled Millennials are in a position of power to choose when, where and how they would like to work. The brick and mortar companies that have operated under traditional business expectations don’t seem to be conforming to the new demands of this workforce.

When Millennials started graduating and entering the workforce, they were met with a very unfriendly job market during the recession. At the time, the unemployment rate among 20-24 year olds was about 13.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of the lucky ones who did land jobs quickly faced massive layoffs or budget freezes, making promotions a pipe dream.

The recession helped to sculpt their nomadic traits. Millennials quickly learned to depend on their own skills, rather than the support of a company. Sixty percent of Millennials leave the companies that they are with within less than three years. Companies with no retention plans in place for this workforce are reporting loses of around $20,000 to replace each one who leaves. Keeping up with new trends means offering flexible hours, more vacation time or telecommuting options.

New technologies and devices have made it possible to work just as effectively outside of the boundaries of an office building, yet many companies won’t even consider building a teleworking program. Old business habits haven’t kept up with new tools and many workers are left wondering, “Why do I have to be here?”

Phil Libin of Evernote could be considered a leader in workplace innovations. He believes in practices and processes that work for the organization, rather than following traditional workplace expectations. Libin says,

 “We always try to ask whether a particular policy exists because it’s a default piece of corporate stupidity that everyone expects you to have, or does it actually help you accomplish something? And very often you realize that you don’t really know why you’re doing it this way, so we just stop doing it.”

According to Anne Donovan, a human resources executiv e for PricewaterhouseCoopers, “It’s important to us from a business sustainability perspective to figure out what makes this generation tick.” The next generation is “well into our manager ranks,” says Donovan, “and it will very quickly be in our partner ranks as well.”As the workforce and technologies change, so should policies and practices. What good are new tools and skills if management doesn’t know how to use or retain them?

By Courtney McGann