A challenge for business today is integrating Millennials into a Baby Boomer culture.
The Millennial Generation was born between 1977 and 1998 and are 75 million strong in size. Millennials are self-confident, focused on development, and are the “can do” generation. In school, they were taught using a cooperative learning style. They believe that a team can accomplish more and create a better result. They grew up in a multi-cultural world which enables them to work well with diverse co-workers.
The electronic capabilities of Millennials are extraordinary. They are constantly connected as they listen to iPods or send text messages – all while working on critical projects. On a recent twitter chat, several Millennials participated at lightning rod speed sharing their thoughts and one commented, “Social media has expanded my network tremendously. More people to talk to and learn from.”
They were raised by helicopter parents who taught them to ask for what they want and encouraged them to take advantage of education and training. As children, they were recognized with stars, trophies and team awards. They appreciate feedback, want to be heard, and expect to add their opinions and ideas to company decisions.
So how do you integrate Millennials and capture the talents of this youngest generation in the workplace? Here are some key tips and insights into the Millennial Generation:
- Work environment. They value friends and lifestyle. Provide flexible schedules and create opportunities for social interaction.
- Training. They were raised by Boomer parents to believe that education is the road to success. Provide tuition reimbursement, training and mentoring.
- Recruiting. They grew up with school violence, terrorism and serious environmental issues. Almost 70% say that giving back and being civically engaged are top priorities. Emphasize how your company contributes to society and the environment.
- On boarding. They want and need connections, checkpoints and mentoring. Give them exposure to different parts of the business, provide resources on the intranet to use at their own pace, and help them build mentoring relationships.
- Motivation. They value friends and free time and want to move up quickly. Provide paid time off and give them opportunities and responsibility.
- Boss relationships. Loyalty to the boss is the number one reason they stay in a job. Dissatisfaction with the boss is the number one reason they quit. Win their affection and respect by being authentic and do what you say you are going to do.
- Managing. They grew up learning how to figure out things on their own. With the Internet and a network of friends a text message away they will find their own answers. Describe the result you’re looking for and let them figure out how to get there. In many cases they’ll develop a better process.
- Assignments – They are great multi-taskers with 10 times the speed and technical knowledge of their older siblings. Give them multiple projects. Although they are independent thinkers, they enjoy working in teams. Give them opportunities to solve problems collaboratively.
- Growth. They will need to be promoted quickly into positions of leadership because of the talent shortage. Provide coaching, do frequent reviews, and present mistakes as a development opportunity. They want to make an impact on day one so let them work with higher-ups when appropriate.
- Retention. They watched their parents get downsized, causing them to question loyalty to the company. Create career paths and reward their successes along the way. Because they are technologically savvy, give them up-to-date technology to use at work.
With 75 million Millennials entering the workplace, organizations need to learn how to recruit, grow and retain these talented workers who, because of their strong networking and technological capabilities, have the ability to be the most productive generation to date.
About the authors: This article was co-written by Judy Lindenberger, The Lindenberger Group, and Terri Klass, Terri Klass Consulting.
Photo credit iStock Photo
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Judy, great article. I recently did a similar piece that addresses leveraging the strengths of all the generations in a given workforce titled: Old enough to now the rules and young enough to play the game.
Trish, thanks for your insightful response to our piece. We think you have a great point that all generations should be offered what Millennials are crying out for. Good for them, good for us, and good for business.
So to all of you Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials, what do you want that is different and what do you want that is the same?
Terri and Judy
Judy and Terri, what a thought provoking piece! While I am certain that the points above are true for Millennials, they are also true of me and I’m a gen Xer.
To play devil’s advocate for a moment, I challenge that any organization worth their salt should be doing all they can to provide these same benefits not just because of the Millennial generation but also because of the Boomers and Xers who are actively participating in technology related exchanges. My fear that that by continuing the focus on a specific generation, we are missing the real calling….changing the way we think about work for the sake of evolving business results.
I’m interested in what others have to say on the topic.Thanks for the great post!