Right about the time the Boomers learned to work with Gen Xers, the Millennials started moving into management positions. Many managers and leaders sigh and shake their heads when they think about working with Millennials.
It might help to understand that the Core Values of each generation are created based on significant people and events that were prevalent in their youth. Consider these representative comparisons: 1
|Millennials (1981-1999)||Gen Xers (1965-1980)||Boomers (1946-1964)|
|Influential people of their impressionable years||Harry Potter, George W., Mark Zuckerberg, Diana, Princess of Wales, Michael Jackson||Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Dilbert, Madonna, Michael Jordan, OJ Simpson||JFK, MLK Jr., Nixon
Beatles, Rolling Stones, Gloria Steinem
|Events/Places||9/11, terrorist attacks, school shootings, Hurricane Katrina, 1990s Recession, cyberspace||Berlin Wall, Lockerbie Scotland, latch-key kids, Starbucks, divorces, Chernobyl||Watergate, sit-Ins, desegregation, Suburbs, Woodstock, Kent State
|Most Important Invention||Tablets, smart phones, laptops, social media, texting||Personal Computer
cell phone, video games, smart phone, tablets
|Television, Jet airplanes Space Exploration
|Rewards||Time for themselves, flexible hours, career path options, be an entrepreneur||Freedom, respect, acknowledgement, career flexibility
|Money, title, recognition, corner office, career security
|Outlook||Optimistic, innovative, technological, ecological,||Self-sufficient, skeptical, resourceful||Competitive, achievement, “me” generation,|
“Millennials may not understand the priorities of other generations… A wired, connected world is all that Millennials have ever known.“ US Chamber of Commerce
Effective ways to engage Millennials:
- Teach them the expectations of your organization in a way that makes sense to them. Hierarchical organization structures can cause them to disengage.
- Respect them for what they offer and give them opportunities to earn trust.
- Understand that they are willing to work hard and long, and they also want work with meaning and a work-life balance.
- Have a clearly articulated vision, strong purpose, shared values and clear career path options.
- Recognize the value they can bring to the business: technology skills, ability to innovate and a high level of comfort with change.
- “Show your willingness to try new approaches”2
The oldest Millennials are now 36. How are you making the most of their talent and drive?
1 Lancaster, Lynne and Stillman, David, “When Generations Collide”, HarperCollinsPublishers, 2005
2 Beverly Jones, Clearways Consulting, Washington, D.C.
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