Millennials—aged between 22 and 37 years—are not new to Mexico. According to data collected by Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia (INEGI), more than 30 million Millennials live in Mexico and are already an important part of the working population.
More and more employers agree that Millennials are important to their future operations. It is essential to adjust hiring processes, management, and work styles. Some businesses have responded by adopting perks and throwing out cubicles to appeal to this growing workforce. Microsoft is listed by Forbes as the #1 Fortune 500 company that Millennials want to work for. Why? Because the company gives young professionals what they want most: flexibility, career growth, and a sense of purpose. However, in Mexico, 52% of companies say they have not adjusted their talent retention strategies for Millennials due to a conservative process policy. 18% do not consider it necessary and 15% do not know what changes they could make (source: Hays Mexico).
Mexican Millennials: The Force of Change in Mexico
Understanding Millennials in Mexico is absolutely instrumental, not only because it is the first step toward engaging them in the workplace, but in the wider world too. With Mexico facing presidential elections this year, experts agree that Millennials will be the deciding vote in 2018, representing 40% of the 88 million registered voters as noted by the Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE). These numbers are important because Millennials in Mexico are leading indicators of how the country will be shaped.
Millennials in Mexico: Myths and Realities
Millennials, some believe, are the laziest and most entitled generation of our time, often being portrayed as unmanageable. However, the hardest working country in the world is Mexico. Studies from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that Mexico’s labor force works more than anyone else on the planet, clocking in over ten hour daily shifts.
Mexico has talent with the creativity and energy to succeed. Take a look at these Millennials in Mexico who are making huge strides in their respective fields.
- 29-year-old Angel Sahagun (CEO and Founder of Albo, a digital banking app that also serves as a financial advisor).
- 35-year-old Dr. David Leal (Co-Founder of Reduse, inventor of a laser-powered machine to reduce climate change emissions by ‘unprinting’ ink from paper).
- 30-year-old Linda Franco (CEO & Co-Founder of Machina Wearable Technology, inventor of a jacket that turns the body into an interface for mobile and virtual reality apps).
- 23-year-old Octavio Jimenez (CEO & Co-Founder of Arvolution, an augmented and virtual reality company supporting the consumer goods industry).
- 32-year-old Jordi Muñoz (CEO & Co-Founder of 3D Robotics, the largest producer of drones in the United States).
Leave it to facts to debunk a myth. Rather than seeing Millennials as the common stereotype—that they are a careless generation, employers should invest in the development of these young workers to reap the benefits of their efforts. Millennials in Mexico will work hard, just not for a meaningless job.
Millennials in Mexico: How to Maximize Their Loyalty
Everyone looks for balance between work and life. Millennials demand it. This generation is Mexico’s largest demographic group and they want and expect what their more developed neighboring countries have, particularly in border cities.
Millennials in Mexico are progressive, have different ideas and desires than their parents, are willing to take risks, and have a different vision of the workplace. Sure, bills need to be paid, but motivation comes from more than compensation—they expect their work to be something bigger than a paycheck. It’s about enrichment, fulfillment, and the flexibility to achieve the career they want on their own terms.
Flexible schedules? Remote work options? Friendly workspaces? If these concepts sound completely foreign to you, you probably have a high turnover of young people in your company. Flexibility is the #1 most valued factor when it comes to Millennials in the workplace.
Regardless of race, this is a generation that grew up watching their parents dedicate their lives to work. Unlike their parents who spent hours in the office, sacrificing time with the family, Millennials demand greater work flexibility and freedom. Mexico’s Millennials value family; they want to work to live, not live to work. When it comes to parenthood, they want to be active and engaged, which means having the time to be able to do so.
Is your business operating under very rigid structures? Millennials do not sympathize with little flexibility in companies. A flexible work environment can mean different things and take different forms, but the goal is to shift away from strict policies. This can mean adjusting the set times of the workday in the office. This can mean there might not even be an office, especially with technology so readily available. A study by eMarketer shows nearly all Millennials in Mexico use smartphones. In other words, Mexico’s Millennials like to work with technology the same way they live with it. While this transition might sound tough, there’s no need to fear flextime.
- Remote employees are almost twice as likely to work beyond 40 hours a week (source: Inc. Magazine).
- A typical business can decrease costs simply by letting their employees work from home. American Express reported annual savings of $10 million to $15 million thanks to its remote work options (source: Forbes).
- Workers who have the freedom to choose when and where to work, feel 12% more satisfied in their positions and have a 40% higher chance of being innovative professionals (source: Plantronics).
- People tend to work harder when they’re happy—12% harder. (source: Economic experiment)
The takeaway? Increased satisfaction and productivity all around. It shouldn’t matter where people are getting the work done—as long as they are. Focus on results rather than hours worked. Saying yes to fewer restrictions is key with Millennials. Your job as a leader is to allow your staff to achieve the highest levels of success they can. Enable your young workers to leverage their digital savviness to work smarter and with greater efficiency.
The bad news: Millennials don’t plan to work the same job for 10 years. They dream big and aspire to reach leadership positions. They have their sights set on professional growth, so if they don’t see the bigger picture, the opportunities that lie ahead, or the possibility to scale up, they are more likely to quit.
The good news: if you can provide a Millennial with the opportunity to do some or more of the things they want—they will stay. What do they want, you ask? They want quality treatment at work. They want mentorship. They want things explained to them. They want to be heard. They care about their own self-care. They’re not willing to tolerate a toxic company culture. In the words of Virgin Group’s founder Richard Branson, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Something fundamental for young employees to be committed to their job is to understand and share the ultimate purpose of their work. Millennials want to use their skills and talents to make a difference in people’s lives. If a Millennial feels his or her job is meaningful, they become unstoppable.
Millennials grew up believing that they could change the world, and they are willing to work to make that happen. Millennials are proactive by nature. Establishing outdated and strict procedures is the surest way to make them feel like they’re being held back. Mechanical and repetitive work will frustrate them. Are you looking to hire a Millennial to file cabinets, print copies, or answer endless calls? Be prepared to watch the person leave.
If you are managing Millennials in Mexico and complaining about the challenge of dealing with them, that’s your right. Conversely, if you want success, it’s time you sat down with your young employees, set clear goals and expectations, and provide feedback to ensure they learn with each assignment. Now that’s a model for success.
Millennials aren’t entitled. They simply want more out of life. That doesn’t make them self-absorbed snowflakes, it just means that the nature of work has changed. Entitlement says, “give me.” Ambition says, “I want it. How can I get it?” It’s 2018. Millennials are mobile, virtual, global, and anxious to make a real impact on our world. If you don’t know how to get closer to this generation, just talk to them! Millennials are not shy when it comes to sharing their opinions. In Mexico, that’s roughly 30 million unique attitudes and approaches.
By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano
CEO & Founder of Barbachano International (BIP), the Human Capital Solutions leader in Mexico, Latin America and the USA offering high impact executive search, executive coaching and outplacement. Directly and through our partners, we have offices in Mexico, USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and Ecuador. Our corporate offices are in San Diego, California.