Technology is changing the business world and unlike previous years, we now have three generations working side by side with each other: the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. As digital natives, Millennials understand and use technology in a way that has created a seismic shift in corporate America – and also how we conduct business.
Whether you are a seasoned executive or a young entrepreneur looking for business management advice, you need to know the new rules of the workplace.
Here are five commonly believed business lessons that are now myths:
1. You need to pay your dues.
Historically, new college graduates were tasked with chores like getting coffee for executives and sitting quietly in meetings for the sole purpose of taking notes. Now, with the rapid influx of new technology, young employees are a huge asset. Yes, someone still needs to handle keeping the spreadsheets up to date and preparing conference rooms for big meetings, but don’t overlook these new employees when it comes to idea sharing and out-of-the-box thinking. If they feel that their ideas are taken seriously, they’ll often surprise you with a fresh take on age-old issues and will be motivated to work harder and longer. Many young adults are already starting and running their own businesses; the idea that you can’t be successful without a few years of slaving away at dreadful tasks is no longer true.
2. Don’t talk money.
The new workforce is not shy when it comes to sharing how much money they make and gender-equality issues are being brought up in the media more than ever. If you pay your employees fairly and explain why each benefit policy is in place, your workforce will have nothing to complain about. Make sure your company is an even playing field that rewards great work and is an open environment where employees feel comfortable chatting with HR.
3. There’s no place for social media at work.
Can you believe that some companies still block Facebook from their office computers? The new workforce is about trust; trust that employees will use Internet access responsibly and will only share what is appropriate in a work setting. In fact, there are many benefits to having social media in the office. For example, encouraging employees to share company successes over social media is great for brand management and recruiting. Social networks are also excellent for professional networking.
4. Work happens between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. – and in the office.
Traditional work hours died with the invention of mobile computing. Depending on the industry you’re in, you and your employees likely check work emails as soon as you wake up and right before you go to sleep. As an entrepreneur, your workday never ends, and in many ways your employees will feel empowered if you share that ideology with them. Since emails can be read and replied to on the go, there’s no reason why employees shouldn’t have the flexibility to work the morning in a coffee shop or leave the office at 4:00 pm to take a kick-boxing class and finish their work at home later. This goes back to the trust issue mentioned above: Employees know they need to do their job and will be rewarded for hard work and great results. If you trust them to do this on their schedule, you’ll form a team of independent, motivated and energetic employees.
5. The best employees have relative experience and a five-year plan
Today’s young employees have been told repeatedly to look for a job they love doing. They don’t hold the same old-school beliefs that you need to stay at a company for several years or that you need to have a long-term career path. If a person with a year of experience in advertising applies for an operational associate role, give them a chance. An employee doing something they love will do much better than a person doing something just because they have experience in it.
As an entrepreneur, create a corporate culture that empowers your employees and makes them feel trusted, productive and creative. Technology is creating more change and entrepreneurs need to not only adapt to it, but embrace it. We all know that, in business and life, change is the only constant.