Although some sources differ, millennials are people born between 1981 and 2000. This generation has grown up alongside the internet, not understanding how their older colleagues were able to live without it back in their days. Millennials are consequently characterised by their affinity to digital life and online socialising. With information just a few “taps” away, they are used to a fast pace of life and attention spans of seconds. Millennials are not afraid to say what they think. They admire older generations for their experience, but like challenging them with other perspectives.
Millennials are becoming the largest generation and consumer group. According to UBS, they are worth 24 trillion USD this year. This also means that millennials have substantial purchasing power, so companies should come up with innovations tailored to what young clients want. Business concepts like sharing economy and the creation of experiences are now more important than ever. Companies have to re-think their marketing concepts and those positioned at the forefront of digital trends, can best leverage millennial’s knack for innovation.
The shift in attitude and way of life that has come along with millennials has had a large impact on the business world. With different expectations of how a business should be laid out and a focus on the digital realm, never has there been a greater need for innovation. Businesses have to be able to adapt in terms of both changing consumer behaviour and employee retention in order to stay afloat. Millennials like this challenge.
Powerful companies like Apple or Google have set a certain standard when it comes to releasing regular updates and constantly evolving products. Millennials consider this to be the norm of business development. A forward-thinking view and a visionary approach towards innovation is a must for this generation.
Thanks to digitalisation there is an overwhelming amount of choice in almost all markets. This causes millennials to be unforgiving towards companies who fail to innovate, which means many firms get left behind.
Apart from innovation, personalised and transparent relationships between a business and their clients have become increasingly important. Millennials are much more receptive to companies who make efforts to connect with them and provide personalised services, for example through social media. Other aspects like collaboration with brands and feeling like their opinions matter are important characteristics for businesses targeting young age groups. This means that companies have to be able to adapt accordingly to suggestions through innovations, keeping their customer’s wants and needs in mind. Constant adaptations are becoming the norm. In order to be able to do this, a strong innovation strategy is very important. Disruptive innovations are necessary to maintain customer loyalty, satisfying employee expectations and staying ahead of the innovation game.
Young people today are aware that they will take over a world full of major social, political, financial and environmental problems and that solving these issues requires living and working in a different way. Millennials have plenty of optimistic ideas, which is what makes them the innovators of the future. Some companies have started implementing “millennial boards”. This is a great and effective way to formalise teams, who’s responsibility it is to provide unique perspectives and to challenge the way businesses have been working for longer periods.
Shifting consumer behaviours are not the only thing companies should keep in mind when it comes to millennials. New attitudes are also shifting towards the workplace. Newer generations have a tendency to swerve away from traditional career paths. If companies want to retain young talents, they have to keep up to date with the modern requirements of employees. These requirements differ from one company to another, but flexibility in the workplace, a sense of inclusion, strong culture and work/life balance options make good starting points.
Benefits of hiring millennials are partially based on their great entrepreneurial spirit. Companies who allow collaboration, openness, transparency and integration in decision making can best leverage the advantages of their youngest employees. This ensures that no innovative idea is lost or forgotten. Even in times of crisis, companies have to attract and retain new talent, in order to embed innovation in every layer of the firm.