The workforce pool now consists of Generation Y, those individuals commonly referred to as Millennials, who were born between 1982 and 2004.  Do you know or understand them? After reading an "Insider Short" provided by, I learned that research shows that “Millennials choose most often to define themselves with more negative terms, such as self-absorbed, wasteful or greedy.”  As a consequence, employers must establish a strategy to deal effectively with this population of their workforce.

The Insider Short also revealed that a recent Pew research study showed that 57% of Millennials view unions positively, up from 49% in 2010.  The Pew study also showed that 50% of Millennials consider themselves unaffiliated and that 20% have at least one immigrant parent.

Since these Millennials will represent the largest group of new hires, the key strategic question is how to influence them so they become a positive part of the work environment.  This is true whether the employer’s objective is to remain non-union or to have positive relationships within a unionized environment.  After working with employers around the globe for over 48 years, I suggest the key to a bonding and/or communications strategy is to have Millennials become stakeholders in the organization.  This can best be achieved by avoiding assumptions and by developing an “asking strategy” that allows all employees to have a voice about the culture.  The most effective way to achieve these goals is to regularly (at least twice a year) utilize questionnaires inviting input from employees to satisfy their concerns and to advance ideas toward developing a culture that meets their needs.  Once this input is obtained, the strategic employer could then work with its employees to find solutions to workplace challenges and/or improve the overall work environment.

The “asking strategy” through questionnaires is just one communication initiative, but is the best place to start.  Too many employers manage by making assumptions, when they can avoid misconception by asking the people who matter, namely the employees, about how they feel.  Having the right strategy is now more important than ever with the rise of the Millennials.

expert labor relations advice