THE BLOG

It's Time For Millennials To Speak Out

14/03/2017 11:59 GMT | Updated 14/03/2017 12:00 GMT
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There's a huge problem in the workplace and it's getting worse. We live in a culture of immediacy. Everything is at your fingertips; you can get every type of food delivered to your desk, with the touch of a button get a cab to your destination of choice in minutes and if you want a date, just swipe right.  And you can do many of these things without uttering a single world. So whilst technological disruptors like Uber and Deliveroo have transformed the social and economic landscape, it has been at the expense of human communication. Millennials are the group who symbolise our faceless culture the most and I speak as one. 

Don't get me wrong, as an entrepreneur I am all for disrupting conventions, encouraging innovation and placing more power in the hands of the individual. Millennials more than any other generation in recent times will shape our future. They are the biggest group since the baby boomers.  And the democratisation of the Internet has created a relentless revolution.  But in short our culture of instant gratification is killing the workplace.

Millennials don't know a life before the Internet, or a life before the phone. The key virtues of patience, social skills and hard old fashioned graft have gone out the window. These have been over taken by an overwhelming sense of entitlement.  No amount of technology can be a substitute for loyalty and sacrifice.  I've had people quit their jobs without one to go to telling me they are bored. I've had people who would rather hide behind sending an email when they are sitting two feet away from me than start a conversation. I've had graduates who've entered my office and rejected any form of hierarchy whatsoever in the workplace - something you need in any form business no matter how light touch.

 

I started my business when I was 19 from my bedroom and had to learn the hard way. I built it through painstakingly developing strong working relationships. Many aspects of my business now are still dependent on me forming new networks, and growing meaningful new alliances. 

Given the rapid pace of change in society and given how quickly businesses can become obsolete overnight, millennials need to adapt much quicker than their parents or grandparents ever had to. We will have 2/3 careers over our lifetime, perhaps even more and we will have to work for longer. It will be those who can adapt socially to the dramatic and at times turbulent circumstances who will prosper.  And people need to adapt their expectations. Be fiercely ambitious, aim for the top, but just don't expect everything right now, be patient.

We need to go back to the very basics. We need to do more to encourage human interaction in the workplace. Turn the internal email off for the day, limit the use of mobile phones, and make people not the internet your first reference point when hammering out solutions to complex problems.

And it's not just in the business place we need to rethink what we are doing. The seismic shift in the political waters since the Brexit vote means more than ever we need the millennial generation to speak up and contribute to the debate. And I don't just need mean in conventional politics, I mean in every walk of life. Technology is a force for good but it can't be at the expense of personal relationships or interacting with those around us most. It's from those seemingly innocuous conversations that we learn and develop the most.  It's time for the millennial generation to speak up and engage.