Successfully integrating and managing millennials in the 21st century workplace.
Nnambooze, Beatrice Elizabeth.
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The study aims to examine the three generations (Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers) that constitute the present day labour force and the differences between these three groups. The millennial generation brings with them a diverse set of workplace attitudes, expectations and characteristics in comparison to the two previous generations (Baby Boomers and Generation X). Therefore, the study serves to provide a better understanding of millennials’ characteristics, expectations and values and how they can cohesively be integrated with the other two generations, which will result in the effective integration and management of millennials in today’s 21st century workplace. In particular, generational differences were assessed in terms of six dimensions (extrinsic values/rewards, an interesting and motivating work environment, a flexible and efficient work environment, workplace fun, learning and diversity and, constant growth and advancement in the workplace) having the potential to influence the integration and management of millennials in the workplace. The research study was conducted in a public sector organisation in KwaZulu-Natal. The study utilised the cluster sampling technique to draw a sample of 93 employees from a public sector whilst ensuring representation of the three generations. Data was collected from employees using a self-developed questionnaire, whose psychometric properties (validity and reliability) were statistically assessed using Factor Analysis and Cronbach’s Coefficient Alpha respectively. Raw data was captured using the Excel, processed using SPSS version 22 and analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. Qualitative data was analysed using content analysis. The results indicate that learning and diversity, workplace fun and extrinsic values/rewards were ranked as the three most important workplace dimensions by employees in the public sector organisation. Additionally, the three generations within the public sector organisation (Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers) were found to have significantly different perceptions in relation to an interesting and motivating work environment, a flexible and efficient work environment and learning and diversity and, biographical differences across the generations were also noted. It was noted that these three generations also shared a number of similarities, for example, all desire workplace fun. Since today’s organisations entail all three generations, both managers and organisations have a critical role to play in gaining deeper insights and understanding in relation to this new generation. As a result, this study provides guidelines and recommendations that assist in promoting continuous and harmonious workplace relationships amongst the three generations, resulting in the successful integration and management of millennials, as well as better retention of key employees within the organisation.
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