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How The Rise Of Workforce Millennials Affects Business

Channeling the energies of Millennials in the workforce requires a special understanding of what drives the generation, said consulting firm stok’s founder, Matt Macko.


Though they have a reputation for being more self-absorbed, Millennials' native familiarity with the Internet makes them adept at tasks that require information processing. Employers can best succeed by fostering a culture of transparency, wellness and meaningfulness. "You can fight Millennial traits or have them work for you," Matt said at a keynote address at Bisnow’s San Francisco sustainability event.    

Matt began his talk by highlighting a few negative Millennial stereotypes: they’re lazy, unpatriotic and narcissistic. He explained the shift going on in terms of psychology and the fulfillment of needs. While earlier generations were concerned about day-to-day survival, Millennials have grown up in an age of plenty. They want more out of life than just a paycheck.


Employers have to realize that the impulse for wanting more in life can be channeled for good. This generation grew up with the Internet and is highly connected. This is a unique advantage for the knowledge-based work of the future. He pointed out the rapid conversion of the S&P 500 index from industrial to high-tech companies during the latter half of the 20th century.

The generation’s embrace of transparency also can be a great force for good in Corporate America, Matt says. Honest and transparent communication can drive deeper engagement at the workplace. “Transparency can be your greatest asset or greatest liability,” he said.

So what does that mean for sustainability? The event took a broader view of sustainability beyond energy usage to include human wellness. Speakers discussed how design could increase workforce engagement and keep employees healthy. Matt concluded his remarks by saying designing and building for wellness was essential in the world of Millennials. They appreciate a well-constructed space, he said, and that increase in productivity can help companies compete.