If you are a Baby Boomer or Gen X leader struggling to understand the Millennials in your organization, or if you are a Millennial trying to get through to your Baby Boomer or Gen X boss, this blog is for you. Understanding perspectives of other generations and putting them into practice will create a smoother running, more positive workplace for all.
Leaders, this blog will shed light on the Millennial mindset and help you find new ways to work more productively with your younger colleagues, as well as appreciate the value they can bring to your business.
Millennials, this blog may give you a better sense of why older colleagues seem frustrated, and you will find easy-to-follow steps that will help you ease yourself into a team or into your first workplace. If you are a recent college graduate, you will find information that will make it easier for you to get hired and transition smoothly.
We can all collaborate together, I promise!
The leaders and organizations that figure this out will have a significant strategic advantage over those that have their heads buried in the sand hoping this “generational thing” will just go away. Remember, no one builds a successful company or career alone. The need to work with other people is one of the only constants in business. If we can successfully bridge the generational gap in the workplace, and be valued for the distinct contribution we make, we will be able to co-create a positive, future-focused business in which Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, and Millennials will prosper together.
Collision Point: Relationships
Traditionalist (born before 1944):
Pleasant and at ease with face -to- face communication
Respect for authority
Prefer formal communication that is limited to work issues only; may be uncomfortable discussing personal life issues
Personal sacrifice - they put aside their individual needs and wants for the common good
Can be stuck in “we’ve never done it that way before” mentality and resistant to change
Baby Boomer (born 1945 to 1964):
Like to work for a leader who cares for them personally, treats them with respect and provides new opportunities to learn and grow their career
Interpersonal communication is important
Good at delivering service
Uncomfortable with conflict
Personal gratification is important
Gen Xer (born 1965 to 1979):
Prefer strong commitment to people and relationships; desire to build lasting relationships
Seek sense of family, but family is not necessarily in terms of the traditional sense, it is more a level of emotional connection
Can count on them and their peers to work collaboratively to get things done
Tend to be self-directed
Embrace technology and change
Millennial (born 1980 to 1996):
Tend to be more loyal to peers, coworkers, leader than to an organization
Socializing and relationships are what makes work fun and more important than productivity, profitability, and achievement
Enjoy working and learning from colleagues they respect and hope to socialize and form friendships with them
Lack face-to-face interaction - this is due to heavy reliance on technology
Prior to starting my HR Consulting practice, I was the vice president of human resources and risk management for a full service international staffing company with more than two hundred branches.
My office was located in Dallas, Texas, and one day I was called to our payroll processing division on the sixth floor. The Director of Payroll explained to me that she had a problem with a new employee who had been with the company less than ninety days and wasn’t adhering to HR related policies. I invited the young lady, who was in her mid-twenties, into the conference room and asked her female supervisor to join us. As we sat down, I immediately noticed the female employee, let’s call her Susan, had a dozen or more facial piercings on her ears, lips, eyebrows, nose, cheek and even her tongue—all of which violated the company dress code policy.
Prior to our impromptu meeting, Susan’s supervisor had not told me why she wanted me to meet with her, but I had guessed it was due to her facial piercings. Was I wrong, in fact it was because Susan had offended several of her female coworkers because she did not appear to wear proper undergarments? According to her coworkers, they felt uncomfortable around her and her appearance was distracting male coworkers. I could see for myself why her co-workers were complaining. When I asked Susan why she came to work without proper undergarments, she said she wasn’t blessed as she motioned to her chest. Susan went on to say she had never worn a bra and didn’t feel the need to wear one now.
I asked if she had read the employee handbook upon hire and she said "sure." I asked if she remembered reading the dress code policy and she said "I read it, but since no one asked me to remove my facial jewelry," she said touching her ear gauge, "I thought it was okay to come to work like this."
According to Susan’s supervisor she was a model employee and she didn’t want to lose her for a minor policy violation. Our organizations policy dictated we fire Susan or, at a minimum, issue a written warning. And if the piercings or lack of undergarments continued, then we would have to fire her. But this didn’t make any sense to me since Susan was a well-trained, motivated, and productive employee who didn’t have any face-to-face contact with customers. Common sense dictated that we get creative. We finally arrived at a compromise. During work hours, Susan had to wear proper undergarments, blessed or not. She was permitted to continue to wear her facial jewelry as long as she remained in her current role and had no direct, visible customer contact. It was a win-win for everyone.
This is an example of meeting the intent of the company policy while keeping employees like Susan, a Millennial, and her Baby Boomer supervisor as motivated as possible while performing at their best.
A lot of Talk about Millennials
Tomorrow’s workforce won’t just include Millennials, it will be dominated by them. It is projected by 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce.
Every generation makes up the majority of the workforce at some point.
What makes the Millennial workforce different?
The Millennial cohort is significantly larger than previous generations, and has unique career preferences and ambitions.
As the Millennial workforce dominates, organizations will need to change their recruitment strategies to stay competitive.
Why Should Recruiters Care?
53% of hiring managers surveyed shared they have difficulty finding and retaining Millennials.
Approximately one-third of organizations lost 15% or more of their Millennial employees in 2015.
Millennials will leave if they’re not satisfied. 43% of Millennials were actively searching for a new job in 2015.
Does the Millennial Workforce Have Unique Skills? Hiring and keeping Millennials is important, 68% of hiring managers say Millennials have skills earlier generations don’t.
Should the rise of the Millennial workforce affect how companies approach recruitment? YES!
Finding better strategies to attract and retain Millennials is crucial for organizational success.
How DO You Attract Millennials?
First, forget stereotypes. What Millennials see as important to their careers might surprise you.
Eighty-Eight percent of Millennials say company stability is a top priority when considering employers. This doesn’t mean they like corporate bureaucracy, but they aren’t drawn exclusively to start-ups either.
Millennials came up in a recession—understandably, their financial well-being is paramount, and it explains why 67% would likely to leave their job for higher pay.
Though Millennials are often labeled as “entitled” or “self-serving,” 74% prefer to collaborate in small groups. They believe if the team wins, everyone wins.
These preferences can shape how you communicate and connect with Millennial job-seekers on your career portal and other recruitment channels.
Many Millennials want more than a highlight reel of your office holiday party from THREE years ago, they want to know how to land a job with your organization.
Make social media a resource for job postings, upcoming events, and targeted industry insight.
Millennials care about an organization’s values and its ability to do well in the world more than any other generation.
Sixty-two percent of Millennials visit an organization's social media sites and Google them to acquire information about jobs BEFORE applying.
Sixty percent of Millennials say they chose to join their current employer in part because of the organization’s sense of purpose.
Offer the RIGHT Candidate Experience
Seventy-eight percent of Millennials say the overall interview experience is very important to their decision to accept a job offer.
Millennials want to know they’re not just a number. Make your recruitment efforts more individualized with personal email communications, social media interactions, and event invitations.
Make information about your organization culture, history, and mission easily accessible and up to date on your career page. During the interview process, allow Millennials to meet other employees. Millennials value transparency.
Because Millennials are fast-paced and more likely to apply from remote locations, video recruiting software gives Millennials the ability to interview anywhere, without exhausting time or money.
You Can’t Manage Them if You Can’t Attract & Retain Millennials!
Sherri Elliott-Yeary, CEO of Generational Guru is an award-winning speaker, professional business consultant, and published author who energetically engages international audiences with her practical strategies for attracting, growing, and retaining top talent and loyal customers from every generation. Sherri brings over twenty years of hands-on experience to support you in designing generational solutions that address:
Cross-Generational Leadership Challenges
Generational Blind Spots in Sales
Effective Recruitment and Retention
Marketing to Millennials
For more information, please contact Sherri via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call her at 469-971-3663.