The United Nations Blog Series – Is the United Nations adapted to Millennials?

@IE University

Here are the different workplace dynamics at the UN that could be better adapted to millennials.

The United Nations is undoubtedly one of the most important international organizations in the world. While it is true that people from around the world continue to regard the UN as a top international employer, we must consider how this institution has adapted to the needs of new generations of employees.

Here are the different workplace dynamics at the UN that could be better adapted to millennials.

  1. Strict schedules

Generally speaking, the office hours are from 9AM to 6PM, with a lunch break of approximately 90 minutes. However, on the occasions that there is nothing to do at the office, you’ll still be expected to stay until 6PM. There are also days where there will be so much to do that you won’t leave until at least 9PM.

I see this tendency as a lack of organization and efficiency, and an old-fashioned concept of working schedules that is not compatible with our generation. As millennials, we are characterized by our capacity for multitasking, and results-oriented mindset. This means that we are best suited to a flexible schedule that allows us to plan out our own workflow for the week. This allows us to be more efficient and self-motivated.

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  1. Technology

We are a generation known for technological know-how, as well as our desire to try out new gadgets. From what I have seen, the UN suffers from a significant technological gap, making this workplace less than ideal for millennials with outdated processes. For example, in order to check meeting schedules, you have to access the UN Journal websites. In a millennial-oriented workplace, this information would be integrated into a mobile app, with the ability to sync meeting schedules to your smartphone calendar.

I have also found that the numerous internet-connection problems, and outdated computers makes it challenging to maximize efficiency in the office. Since technology is such a big part of our daily lives, this kind of working environment can prove frustrating to millennials as it doesn’t help us realize our full potential.

  1. Inefficient bureaucratic processes

The majority of the events that take place in the UN are of a bureaucratic nature. In some cases, we will have to attend a full-day general debate where countries are simply reading statements aloud, without engaging with alternate opinions. It appears as though there is sometimes an absence of a meaningful conversation about the issues that affect the lives of people all over the world.

Millennials are privileged to have grown up in an international environment. This gives us the potential to understand issues in a way that older generations find challenging. Also, we have much stronger communication skills, which can result in an increased commitment to finding solutions and more efficient processes.

  1. Motivation

Judging by what I have seen at the Permanent Mission of Spain to the UN, the majority of UN interns start off with a great deal of motivation. Unfortunately, most of us lose this motivation due to working in an environment that is inadequately suited to the needs of our generation. It does not appear as though there is a serious strategy to update processes and workplace conditions to exploit the talents of the millennial generation.

We are pragmatic idealists who are willing to connect virtually and personally with peers from all over the world. We are change-seekers who are after real results and meaningful achievements. It seems inconceivable to our generation that there are negotiations taking place in the UN that have been stagnant for over three years.

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Our talents can be exploited by this international organization to help it grow and become more relevant. However, from my perspective, the UN is ill prepared to embrace future generations. This is particularly problematic as an increasing number of millennials enter into the labor market. Nevertheless, I hope for change in this area of the UN, as they represent the future of international politics.

 

If you want to hear more about the adventures of Celia, Claudia, Elena, and Marco at the United Nations, stay tuned at goingtoieu.ie.edu!

Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with us. If you would like to learn more about this degree, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at university@ie.edu.