Millennials are a generation influenced by Reality TV, ad YouTube stars. They are used to seeing fame and purpose come in short periods of time.
What is a Millennial?
I suspect you know this by now; however, an article written by Dr. Jill Novak, University of Phoenix, Texas A&M University has a good description of them on her article called The Six Living Generations in America (as well as good descriptions of the other generations). This is how Dr. Novak describes the generation.
- Born between 1981* and 2000*.
- Aka “The 9/11 Generation” “Echo Boomers” America’s next great generation brings a sharp departure from Generation X.
- They are nurtured by omnipresent parents, optimistic, and focused.
- Respect authority.
- Falling crime rates. Falling teen pregnancy rates. But with school safety problems; they have to live with the thought that they could be shot at school, they learned early that the world is not a safe place.
- They schedule everything.
- They feel enormous academic pressure.
- They feel like a generation and have great expectations for themselves.
- Prefer digital literacy as they grew up in a digital environment. Have never known a world without computers! They get all their information and most of their socialization from the Internet.
- Prefer to work in teams.
- With unlimited access to information tend to be assertive with strong views.
- Envision the world as a 24/7 place; want fast and immediate processing.
- They have been told over and over again that they are special, and they expect the world to treat them that way.
- They do not live to work, they prefer a more relaxed work environment with a lot of hand holding and accolades.
This means that some Millennials are nearing the age of 40. I know sometimes we like to think of Millennials as late teenagers and twenty-somethings, but this just simply isn’t the case any longer!
What is the New Currency for Millennials?
Sure, just like the rest of the world, they want to be paid well and fairly for what they do. However, as Dr. Novak suggests they want few other things too. So, if you are struggling with a Millennial child or staff member you might try some of the following tactics because the Millennial sees these as currency (remember, that these are based on generalities and shouldn’t be taken as broad sweeping statements that encompass everyone in this generation):
- Give them an opportunity to stand out and feel significant.
- Break bigger projects into smaller steps, they value winning and achieving things quickly.
- Take advantage of their technological prowess.
- They want to have an important purpose and make an impact, engage them in conversation that could uncover what these things are for them (remember, they may not know so you will have to try a few things).
- No, it’s not just enough to have a good paying job – why should it be? Millennials have watched their parents and grandparents be dumped on and let go of by larger corporations both in the 80s, 2008 and the mid-2010s; they have learned by seeing what their parents and grandparents let go (sometimes multiple times) that loyalty doesn’t go both ways; you will have to earn their respect and teach them to respect and trust you.
- Millennials did not have to make difficult decisions growing up, the previous generations did their job – they made the world a better place! They made it so that their children could live better lives than they did and provide options! However, as a result of this Millennials were provided with many things without having to make difficult decisions. They like it when things come easy. So, you will have to teach them how to make difficult decisions. They will need to know it’s safe.
- They need to see that their education is used and useful. Many Millennials coming out of school feel very under-utilized. They are ready to hit the ground running but they realize very quickly that their degree wasn’t as useful as it was promised to be. They are also living in a world where a degree may not stand out strongly from experience or technical certifications. Discover their skills and use them quickly.
- Millennials will walk away from good money
Why should you bother?
Simon Sinek does a great talk on Millenials in the workplace. I personally do not agree with all of Simon’s points; however, I do accept the point that he is trying to make. I suggest watching this video where he outlines the circumstance that Millennials, their parents and leaders are facing.
Christopher is the CEO and Founder of Change My Life Coaching — a fast growing whole-life coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind. He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.