How Does an ESOP Fit for the Millennial Generation?

Canadians born between 1979 and 2000 now outnumber baby boomers for the first time in history.  The Millennials (or Generation Y) form a distinctive segment of the work force, aged 16 to 37 years old.  There are two types of Millennials:  those aged 16 to 27 have been called the iGeneration Millennials since they were raised with iPads; while those aged 28 to 37 are called the Net Generation Millennials as they were brought up on the internet.

There are differences in temperament and societal outlook between the Millennials and those considered Generation X and Baby Boomers.  As an example, when a boss gives a baby boomer a task to do, the baby boomer interprets it as an order and goes about the task.  The Millennial interprets the same order as a reason for a discussion.  He wants to talk about why it needs to be done, and to explore alternatives.  This explains why a Millennial would rather work for someone who is a mentor, leader, or coach rather than someone who is given the title of boss.

Employee share ownership (through an ESOP) can be an important workplace attribute to all generations:  Boomers, Generation X, and especially Millennials.  Yet the communication about the benefits of an ESOP to the various generations needs to be different.

Millennials and ESOP
An ESOP fits the Millennial view

For all generations, the communication needs to be delivered in a way that matches their distinctive needs and communication style.  It needs to build trust, and provide them with the information about their career and work in a way they understand.

The Millennials tend to have a different perspective on their work.  They believe a job is not just a job; it is an integral part of their lifestyle.  It plays a significant role in their purpose in life.

Studies show that Generation Ys tend to acquire information from the web:  online forums, blogs, tweets, Facebook, other social media, and friends.  They may gloss over information and just take what they need and what they find interesting.  They tend not to read traditional newspapers or listen to network news.  This provides insight about best ways to connect and provide them with needed information.

In terms of work and career, this generation tends to love adventure and are willing to “just do it”, especially if they can do it with their trusted friends.  A participative ESOP allows them to work in a trusting environment where they feel valued and can support each other.

An ESOP can be the greatest adventure a Millennial will experience in their lives, if it is communicated in a way they understand.  Being invested in an ESOP provides the Millennials with a much greater purpose in life; they are contributing to something that is bigger than themselves.

The ESOP model and philosophy are perfect for Millennials, when the method and message are crafted to how they view the world.

By Perry Phillips, President of ESOP Builders Inc.

Learn more about the 2017 Canadian Employee Ownership Conference in Gatineau / Ottawa – June 6-8.

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