“I’m going to murder the next Millennial who shows up late,” a manager said to me recently. “Glad you called,“ I replied. “I’m going to save you a lot in legal fees.”
That same day, an entrepreneur told me, “If the Millennials here are going to be successful, they’re going to have to learn to work the hours Boomers worked at that age.”
In a recent poll, 22% of Millennials said they are late to work at least one day a week. That may or may not be a problem depending on flextime, the industry and the role. But even so,
It’s hard for Boomers who grew up wearing wrist watches to work with Millennials who grew up checking the time on their phones.
The technology is telling.
Millennials have always had instant information and communication in their hands. And lately, there's even more up-to-the-instant info. Some GoMetro apps now have a Call My Boss feature. The 1MinLate app lets people know your, personably late, ETA.
If you grew up digital you have a different mindset about time. With instant info you can change direction, like, now. In the Millennial mind, plans are always in play, subject to change in the second it takes to thumb a text. Dali’s clocks come to mind.
If Boomer managers overlay a rigid 8-to-5 expectation on Millennial fluidity, it doesn’t fit. Ms aren’t trying to make Boomers crazy by showing up late. They’re just not used to, or don’t get, rigid hours around work. It’s a little like a U.S. corporate type going to a Peruvian village and expecting meetings to start on time. They don’t. If you want to work there, you adapt your strategy.
How will you adapt to the new stretchiness of time?
Begin by looking at your metrics. What’s the real cost of Millennial tardiness or absenteeism?We’ve all adapted to life in the digital age, so compare Millennial absentee rates to Gen X rates to get a true picture.
Then look at each job and ask, Are we measuring hours when we could be measuring productivity? Maybe you can simply staff up and cross-train for inevitable absentees. Maybe you coach teams on self-scheduling, and train managers to incorporate input so that Millennials feel ownership for their schedules. Maybe you develop just-in-time scheduling and revamp your PTO policies. Maybe you find new ways to measure success like rewarding innovation or high productivity, and maybe the reward isn’t money. Maybe it’s more control over time.
Just some suggestions you can consider. We're living in a half-changed work world as the workplace culture shifts from primarily Boomer to Millennial. For more about this, download 3 New Generationals Realities and 38 Killer Strategies You Can Use to Crush Gen Conflict Now. Some companies have this issue solved, and others are just beginning. Wherever you are in the process, remember that small steps matter. You don't have to change everything at once. You just have to listen to the workforce you have and adapt as you go.
Generational expert and keynote speaker, Amy Lynch helps the generations understand each other. She has spoken to 100s of groups from MTV and Comcast to Boeing, J&J and the staff of the U.S. Senate. Contact Amy about your next event.