Who ISN’T experiencing life with Millennials these days?  Millennials are those born @ 1981 – 1997, a/k/a Generation Y (Why? Why? Why?) a/k/a the ME, ME, ME generation. They are also called the Echo Boomers as most of them are children of Baby Boomers who created their birth rate surge.

My two sons are Millennials (technically). Neither identify much with Millennials but I can readily affirm that there are three impressionable influences affecting their generation: (1)  the explosion of digital technology, communication and social media; (2) growing up as latchkey kids while parents worked overtime to provide for the family hampering work/life balance; and (3) the Great Recession, (2007 – 2010) that left them and their parents unemployed. A nod should also be given to the events of 911. They created indelible memories.

The April 2017 issue of HR Magazine, featured a great column by Lisa Rabasca Roepe, Millennial-ize Your Recruiting. In it Roepe provides these startling statistics:

Millennials are now the LARGEST segment of our workforce and the FASTEST GROWING.  “By 2025, they are projected to make up 75 percent of all U. S. employees, an increase from about 1 in 3 workers today.”

These stats are (sadly) horrifying for some employees currently working with Millennials. As they age and stay in the workforce longer (ah, that Great Recession), Boomers will likely report to “these kids,” ahem, THEIR own kids in the next several years.  In many workplaces it is already occurring.

Certainly not all Millennials are the same.  Roepe provides findings from BridgeWorks, a generational consulting company. BridgeWorks splits millennials into two divisions:  Early Millennials (born between 1980-1987) and Recessionists (born 1988 – 1995).  BridgeWorks states that Millennials claim to be a ‘reflection of their identity,’ describe themselves as collaborative, chose options correlating with autonomy and the ability to self-direct their schedules, and “seamlessly integrate work and home lives.”

Recessionists, consider work something to do to pay their bills. They are almost twice as unlikely as Millennials to describe themselves as collaborative. They prefer a more traditional definition of work/life balance that “compartmentalizes work from personal time and allows them to turn off work at the end of the day.” They often choose job options that correlate with financial success.

Parents of Millennials simply want their kids out of their homes, gainfully employed and off of their medical insurance. They never dreamed they’d be working FOR their children who are living rent free in their home.

As many HR departments affirm, Millennials expect better pay and benefits (thanks to student loan debt and the Affordable Care Act). They require opportunities for future growth with a company from day one. If Millennials do not see a path up the ladder, they move on.

In my practice I coach several Millennials. If they are worth hiring, they want management opportunities almost immediately and direct access to leadership. You want ambitious, proactive employees. I require clients, prior to applying and interviewing, to assess a company’s social media, mission, vision, core values, cultural fit, and reputation. While this presents quite a shift for HR departments, the alternative is the applicant who just wants a job (a trophy) like everyone else. They expect it all to come to them without much effort. They are not accustomed to hearing “NO!”  They are generally reactive when pay raises and promotions do not automatically occur. Who would you prefer to hire and work with?

Born into the world of cell phones, texting, tweeting et al, Millennials value communication most. You’d best be prompt regarding the applicant process and provide regular performance feedback once they are hired. Gone are the days of “we’ll get back to you.  If you don’t return their call, they move on. Waiting weeks/months for the hiring process to be completed is unacceptable. The more savvy employers will have snatched them up before you realize they could have been a great hire.

Like it or not, Millennials are here. They are unwilling to accept old rules and ways of doings things. It’s a GOOD thing. Business is growing and changing more quickly than ever. Companies must be able to change directions and quickly step up to the table. Old ways no longer work. Wake up and join Business & Enterprise 2017. Jobs 101 has been deleted from the paper syllabus handed out decades ago.


From the desk of Becky Morlok

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