Engaging the Millennial Workforce

Millennials. How do we work with them? Their demands are so high! They want promotions every 2 months! They’re not loyal to their companies! And let’s not get started on their obsession with social media...

Given the regular questions and comments we’ve received about Millennials from AWE Leaders, Millennial Experts spoke at the AWE Afternoon Teas across New York, Chicago and San Francisco to discuss Engaging the Millennial Workforce. And this is some of what we learned:

  • By 2020, Millennials will be 50% of the workforce, and by 2025 this number will increase to 75%.
  • The greatest conflict occurs between Gen Xers and Millennials, not Baby Boomers and Millennialssince Baby Boomers may often times be the parents to Millennials. In fact, the strong and casual relationship that Millennials often times have with their Boomer parents (‘We’re really good friends!’) is why Millennials expect that same relationship with their managers.
  • Training is, in the eyes of a Millennial, the #1 benefit that a company can provide them – and specifically leadership training. (Shameless plug - don’t forget AWE’s Training Sessions for your Millennials and beyond!)
  • Since Millennials are used to experiencing instant gratification (thank you, Instagram and Facebook!), they expect professional feedback to be delivered in a similar way. Consider doing away with the annual performance review and provide more feedback and career conversations on a regular basis.
  • Recognize that Millennials do not understand the concept of failing and building resilience. This is a generation that was given a trophy for showing up, not for winning the championship. Being able to help Millennials become aware of this important leadership trait and, in essence, teaching them how to fail, can lead to better performance.
  • Conventional (Gen X) Wisdom would say that Millennials are self-centered. In fact, they are more community and social impact-driven than their older colleagues and a purpose-based culture can create longstanding loyalty.
  • Finally, remember that the ‘demands’ that Millennials are often times voicing may be the same ones that Gen Xers thought when they were younger, yet never said aloud. Embracing, instead of resisting, changing dynamics and perspectives will yield in the best sustainable results for everyone.