In the spring of 2016, millennials, aged 19 to 35 today or defined roughly as those born in the ‘80s and ‘90s, surpassed baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, and in 2015 they became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. By 2025, they’re expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce in the United States
Millennials are shaped by many world events, making them unique from earlier generations. Growing up with the internet means they expect immediate access to information; witnessing 9/11 and its aftermath makes them resilient in the face of fear and conflict; coming of age during the Great Recession leads them to delay major adult milestones, such as marriage and home purchases; and leading a social media revolution means they demand constant connectivity and innovation.
Further, many baby boomer parents acknowledge that they sought to offer their millennial children more empowerment and flexibility than they received as children. For millennials now in the workplace, this translates to a desire for mentorship, leadership training and variety in career paths. Millennials don’t view work as an activity that needs to be balanced with the rest of their life. Rather, work is a key part of life, making the stakes high for businesses looking to optimize this generation as leaders and decision makers.
However, as they gain more responsibility in the workplace and more buying power every day, it’s essential that businesses take the time to understand them and how to work with them and attract them as employees and clients. Whether you admire or dislike this generation, millennials are a part of your future and it is crucial that they are a part of your business plan. Because the organizations that best understand and adapt to millennials today will have the top talent, the best leaders and the most engaged customers tomorrow.
The Texas Millennial Effect
In Texas, our workers are even younger than other U.S. states, and our millennial population is only expected to grow.
For decades, college students, recent graduates and young adults from across the country and around the world have immigrated to Texas, lured by the opportunity that abounds here. In fact, millennials are one of the most diverse generations in the U.S., second only to those born after 19994, which means they appreciate the influence of other cultures and world views.
As a large and growing constituency, millennials have and will continue to have significant influence on the economy, politics and culture of Texas.
DIGITAL IS IN THEIR DNA
Most of us enjoy the conveniences of modern technology, but for millennials this technology is almost lifeblood. After all, the digital world is where they form friendships, share memories, find jobs, make purchases and spark romantic relationships. And for millennials, it’s tough to remember life before we could do almost anything from the palm of our hands. In fact, the youngest millennials were just 5 years old when Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook and 7 years old when Steve Jobs presented the first Apple iPhone to the world.
The pervasiveness of digital in millennials’ lives means they expect companies to be innovative in how they do everything – from delivering performance feedback to giving hungry customers visibility into the status of their pizza delivery.
To optimize millennials as employees, leaders and customers, consider how you can use technology throughout your operation to enable employee work/life flexibility, positively engage customers at every stage of the customer experience, support back-office workflows and enable personal development.
If you don’t have the resources to develop the Uber of your industry, you can start small with your website, job application process and social media presence. You don’t need to design and develop a 100-page website to get this right. Just ensure your website — even a one-page website — is easy to find and navigate, and mobile-friendly. Your job application process can be simple and straightforward, as long as it’s easy to search and apply for jobs, even from mobile. Finally, managing your social media presence on a few key platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Glassdoor, can also go a long way in not only recruiting talent but also in cultivating both new and existing customer relationships. These are low-cost and effective ways to get started.
INDIVIDUALS, NOT “MILLENNIALS”
The millennial cohort is stereotyped as entitled, self-absorbed and unreliable, but this generational view misses the mark, and — like all stereotypes — grossly oversimplifies a diverse group of individuals.
In fact, for this reason, most millennials don’t identify with the millennial label. Rather, they view themselves and want to be recognized as individuals.
That individuality can be cultivated to appeal to both millennial employees and buyers through customization. Some of the smartest B2C companies have already figured out how to offer customization as a product — think Coca-Cola Freestyle®, Spotify and NIKEiD.
Consider how you might promote individuality and customization in the workplace by offering flexible hours, customizable jobs and career paths, rotational programs or the ability to determine your own job title, as examples. Likewise, look for opportunities to customize your products, marketing and sales messages to speak directly to the 73 percent of millennials who are influencing or making buying decisions on behalf of a business.
VALUING AUTHENTIC, PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Don’t mistake millennials’ desires for digital interaction to mean they don’t value personal relationships. Mentorship and feeling personally connected to their work is extremely important ... for more insights on how to optimize your business for millennials including references, download the report at texascapitalbank.com.
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU PLAN FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS?
Texas Capital Bank sees millennials not as a problem to be solved or managed but as an opportunity to be optimized. Our deeply experienced bankers are well-versed in the trends and topics that affect your business, such as the millennial opportunity. Plus, our network is your network; we’re always happy to connect our clients with contacts within our network with expertise on a particular topic. Contact a Texas Capital Bank relationship manager to discuss the future of your business. Call us at 214.932.6611 or email us at [email protected]
Texas Capital Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ®: TCBI) and is consistently recognized as one of Forbes’ Best Banks in America.