Is a Millennial defined by an age, or by a way of thinking?
GUEST POST: Aoife Delaney, Director of Marketing & Sales, DMC Network.
Aoife has been named on the 22 Millennials to watch list with Meetings and Conventions, a Meeting trendsetter with Meetings Focus, and a Rising Star with C&IT. Her background is in the DMC arena, she was formerly Director of Global Sales for Ovation Global DMC. Aoife is an active member of many industry associations, particularly SITE, where she spent the last 5 years as a member of the International Board of Directors.
By 2020 millennials will comprise of 50% of the global workforce - that’s a hefty chunk of the population, and certainly the future of the meetings and events industry, so we need to take this demographic seriously.
That being said, in many ways I would use the term Millennials to describe a much bigger demographic then one that is purely defined by age. What I am seeing in our industry is a demographic that is comprised of a new way of thinking, and that demographic isn't always of the age group that is a millennial. In today’s world, we need to look at who portrays those characteristics, and not just define this by age.
So, what does this new Millennial look like, and what are they bringing to the table?
First and foremost, there is definitely a new way of thinking among this group - a questioning of the traditional way of operating and a transition away from hierarchy being trends that are certainly paving the way for companies to approach the way they operate in a new way. We’re seeing that new approach spilling over into how we work with our clients also – a new way of looking at the way we do business, and that truly is refreshing.
There’s also a craving for new and truly authentic experiences. There is less of a focus exclusively on the luxurious, the opulent, and the elaborate; and more of a spotlight on a local’s experience.
Work life balance is another trend that this Millennial workforce are embracing – in today’s competitive labour market work-life balance practices are truly essential for employee retention. Progressive companies are encouraging this healthy balance, and reaping the benefits because of it.
A focus on more and more digital options is another field coming to the forefront. Virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence – the art of applying technology to maximize the audience experience is a big focus in the events industry now - it’s an exciting time!
There’s also a change in the type of services that are required. This is definitely being driven by millennial lifestyles, and we’re seeing that spill into how they like to do business. We're living in an age of instant gratification, we’re not used to waiting and so service has to change to meet these new customer demands. Take a look at our social lives for a great example – we want to watch a TV show…we can get it on Netflix instantly. We want to buy a new sweater? Next day delivery means it’s on our doorstep in the morning. We’re no longer used to waiting socially, and that has an effect on our expectations in a business environment.
For me though, the most exciting change is the refreshing attitude in our industry at the moment – people are more open to learning, changing and evolving. There isn’t that same sense that we need to know the answer to everything straight away anymore, or that there is only one correct way to do things. People are operating in ‘beta’ more, being open to change and open to evolving.
The implications of what Millennials are bringing to the table are positive for everyone, we're looking at more ways to work harder, not smarter, there's less micromanaging, more creativity, more rewards, more digital opportunities to get involved in.
But what is the most special thing to see as we come into this new workplace environment?
The creativity, the disruption and challenging of the norm that we are experiencing is not solely coming from the ‘younger’ workforce.
It’s a way of thinking that can span all age groups, and that’s truly something to embrace.