Millennial employees: New method, same mission
12 OCTOBER 2015 6:28 AM
When it comes to their approach to work and career, millennials are often misrepresented and misunderstood.
In today’s hospitality industry we work with a broader age range of individuals than ever before. This is due in part to the fact that the older of those among us, either due to necessity or merely an interest in staying active and earning extra money, are extending their work lives.
However, it is the millennial generation, comprising people between the ages of 18 and 34, receiving the most attention when it comes to the workforce. This is largely due to the fact that this group has lived with computers since the time they uttered their first words and as a result has defined what it means to be computer, Internet and social media savvy.
Forgive the pun, but the tools they use and the methods in which they use them to communicate are light years ahead of their predecessors. For them, Facebook and even Twitter are for the older crowd.
When it comes to their approach to work and career, however, millennials are often misrepresented and misunderstood. They are viewed as a generation that feels “entitled.” They are generalized as a group that is not interested in a career or in making more money. Rather, what is thought to be most important to them are things like flexible hours, an informal work environment, and advanced training and development. The perception is that there are few exceptions.
There are actually many exceptions. That is because generalizations, by their nature, aren’t very useful. Merriam-Webster defines a generalization as a “statement about a group of people or things that is based on only a few people or things in that group.”
No one will dispute that millennials view the world through a different lens. They prefer virtual communication and desire instant feedback. And this affects how we manage our business at every level, from recruiting team members, to marketing our properties, to serving our guests.
However, what many employers are missing is that these millennial employees have goals in life that are similar to those held by the older generation—i.e. to have a successful and rewarding work life, as well as being valued and respected.
The point I’m making is a simple one. At the end of the day, while our mode of communication with employees might change depending on their age, the critical issue remains unchanged: to establish the same set of values and aspirations to achieve success.
It all starts with old-fashioned human relations, and those principles remain the same. Politeness, professionalism, personalized service and a genuine interest in serving the guest remain the cornerstones of success. The need to create a cohesive culture of taking care of our employees and guests is paramount.
Today’s guests have needs and expectations that might be different than they were previously, but our mission remains the same. And each of us, no matter the age, knows that what drives the success of our organization is to bring that mission to life and live it every day.
Aik Hong Tan serves as a principal of Greenwood Hospitality Group. In this role, Mr. Tan is actively engaged in the financial and investment disciplines and growth strategies of the company. During his career, Mr. Tan has overseen a number of major initiatives, including development of mixed-use real estate projects, issuance of bonds to international financial institutions, disposition strategies for power related companies, oversight of e-commerce/GDS and purchasing disciplines in the hospitality arena. Mr. Tan earned a Master of Business Administration degree and Bachelor of Accountancy from the National University of Singapore and is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore. He currently serves on the Executive Board to the School of Hospitality, Restaurant & Tourism Management at the University of Denver.
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