Can we help scientists to cure, prevent or manage all diseases within our children’s lifetime?
That’s the question Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have announced they will be taking on with their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. A massive question and one few people would even consider posing. But Zuckerberg is a Millennial, and if millennials are anything, they are self-believers.
Raised during a backdrop of economic volatility, financial crisis and debt, millennials don’t want to fall foul of the same crippling conditions their parents did. They see it as their responsibility to fix the world their predecessors messed up. To create a better future for their children. It is an attitude we see reflected all over the place. In the take up of online crowdfunding initiatives such as the Ice Bucket challenge; in the trend towards shunning big corporates with questionable morals; the rise of the young entrepreneur; the liberated way younger parents are preferring to raise their children.
When it comes to the latter, increasingly millennials believe it is more important that their children develop soft skills like creativity and leadership than hard skills specific to an industry. Due to rapidly evolving technological advancements, jobs we take for granted today may not be there in the future. Instead these transferrable, life skills are being encouraged in children from an early age in the hope they will stand them in good stead for the unpredictable world that lies ahead. Using unstructured play to develop creativity and not shying from conversations with children on big topics they hope to develop a resilience and self-confidence in their offspring that will prepare them for whatever the future holds.
In the workplace, millennial employees have a different attitude to older generations, particularly when it comes to innovation and leadership. In our Winning Workplace report we found 63% of millennials believed their company values creativity and innovation, compared to only 52% of Baby Boomers and 65% had confidence in their leaders compared to only 52% of Baby Boomers. This isn’t necessarily because they are getting a different experience, more that millennials value these skills so they look for them in others and seek out opportunity to apply them. The world-weary older generations, many of whom have lost the rose tint from their spectacles, are less able to spot the potential, take the initiative or feel they have the scope to influence.
But, because millennials have a predisposition towards the positive we can’t be complacent and assume they will be proactive in applying their enthusiasm. Companies need to make sure they invest in innovation and creativity and make it accessible to employees. And when it comes to leadership, encouraging and developing sustainable skills in their up-coming talent. It also means that we shouldn’t write off the older generations, they too have great things to offer in the way of leadership and creativity. We just need to make sure we speak to that generation a little differently.
According to the “Fast forward 2030 – The future of work and the workplace” report, 50% of occupations today will not exist in 2025. And the types of jobs which people will be doing are likely to be more creatively and emotionally fulfilling. 2025 also happens to be the point at which millennials are forecast to comprise 75% of the workforce. Millennials have the makings for many of the skills they will need for the future but we need to help them hone them. Here are some tips from our Winning Workplace report on how you can encourage creativity and strong leadership in your organisation.
- Regularly encourage and inspire employees to come up with innovative solutions to work related problems.
- Give people time to innovate. Set challenges and create teams to solve them.
- Recognise employees when they come up with new and innovative ways of working.
- Communicate that failure is part of innovation and manage it constructively.
- Deliver clear communications around change so employees understand the reasons for change, the challenges involved and feel able to contribute to finding the best way forward.
- Encourage softer leadership skills such as social and emotional awareness which will help them drive connection and collaboration.
- Develop authentic leaders that have a genuine passion for what the organisation is trying to achieve and openly role model its values.
- Encourage regular, open and honest communications and be open about the challenges the organisation faces.
Creativity, leadership and a belief in our ability: together have the potential to change the world.