Posts Tagged ‘managing gen y’
There are a variety of reasons I chose this topic to write about today, but one recent conversation with a good friend was the thing that got me motivated to actually do it.
She was telling me how she and her 23-year old Millennial (aka: Gen Y) son, who recently graduated from college, went mattress shopping for his new apartment. During their outing together, she was chatting up a storm with everyone; the salespeople, other customers, etc.
After a while, her son finally said, “Mom, what is it with your generation? You guys talk to everyone, all the time!”
He then continued to say that he wasn’t comfortable doing that and that most people he knew, in his generation, felt the same way. However, during their 3-hour mattress-shopping afternoon together, she told me that he hardly ever stopped texting back and forth with his friends. So, “communication” isn’t the issue; “how” they are comfortable doing it is.
Anyway, after his comment, at the very next store she made an effort to hardly say a word and decided to let him handle the interaction with the 40-something sales associate. It only took about 4 minutes for her son to ask her to talk to the salesperson because he didn’t want to anymore. Rather, he was more comfortable watching his Baby Boomer mom do all the talking.
I’ve seen this “not talking much” dynamic occur in many of the workshops I conduct for Millennial employees in corporations. That is also one reason I dedicate a chapter to “communicating like a leader” in my popular book for Millennial employees, “Millennials into Leadership”. My Millennial audiences are always totally engaged, but just aren’t comfortable making comments or asking questions, even when I ask them to. However, they come up to me one-on-one afterwards, or send me emails afterwards, with questions or comments. THAT is totally different from when I conduct workshops or seminars with “older” generations in the audience (i.e. Gen X and Boomers). I typically have to monitor how much time they take up talking!
Plus, I get tons of Millennials at my leadership training workshops that openly admit they just aren’t comfortable speaking with strangers, or even work colleagues, face-to-face. AND, I hear this complaint from many of their Managers. They get very frustrated with the fact their Millennial employees don’t participate much in meetings. However, they find it odd that those same Millennials are totally okay telling them about what they did over the weekend, in lengthy detail, EVERY Monday morning.
And I have to explain that most Millennials like, and need, close ties to their bosses, and sharing their personal life is one way they try to build that “bond”. Unfortunately, that’s something that most supervisors in the workforce, 35+ years old, find very irritating.
Hence just ONE of the reasons the multi-generational workforce challenges continue…and that’s what keeps getting me booked for speaking engagements at well-known companies across the country!
The bottom line to all of this is: Most Millennials grew-up communicating electronically with their peers and that is their comfort zone. However, as I explain to them, they need to work on getting out of that online comfort zone and work at being more comfortable with in-person social settings. It is critical to their career success and relationship building professionally.
My advice to all you Millennials is to take it slow and “practice”. Go to professional networking events, at work and outside of work, or if you’re job searching, and force yourself to meet as many people as you can each time. Trust me! It gets much easier the more you do it!
Also, to get you started, follow these great tips for networking successfully at events offered by David Spinks, who wrote this article for BrazenCareerist.com, an info-packed blog site for young professionals, entitled, “13 Tips for Your First Networking Event”.
Now get out there, turn off your mobile devices, and build some new relationships by communicating the old fashioned way…in-person! Your “career” will thank you!
Bye for now,
Okay…so for over 5 years companies have been hiring me to conduct presentations about how to manage, recruit and retain Millennials (aka: Generation Y). And, as an expert, they also hire me to conduct training workshops for Millennial employees that cover leadership, business etiquette, generations at work, communication and personal branding for career success. BUT, according to an article I came across yesterday, it looks like I might see an uptick of even more Fortune 500 companies contacting me.
Why? Well, according to the article entitled, “Gen Y Traits in the Workplace Unveiled” by Kristin Burnham, she shares:
Millennial Branding together with Identified.com, studied 4 million Gen Y Facebook profiles to obtain better insight into how members of this generation operate professionally-a topic of increasing importance as they are projected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.
According to the study, only 7 percent of Gen Y reports working for a Fortune 500 company-a statistic in line with another report that predicts that 40 percent of the Fortune 500 will no longer exist 10 years from now.
So, where are they going to work? The article states:
Instead, Gen Y workers are turning to startups in which the hiring process tends to be much quicker than that of the Fortune 500, and where Dan Schawbel says Gen Yers feel they can make more of an immediate impact.
While Gen Yers are turning more to startups for employment, they’re also branching out on their own in what Schawbel calls an “unprecedented entrepreneurial spirit.” “Owner” is the fifth most-popular job title, trumped by “server” (No. 1), “manager” (No. 2), “intern” (No. 3) and “sales associate (No. 4).
Retention is also a challenge with Gen Y because according to the report, they only average 2 years at their first job.
These are serious statistics and facts that large companies need to be aware of. If 75% of our workforce is going to made up of Millennials by 2025 (that’s only about 10 years away!!) companies need to start preparing NOW for a solid recruitment and retention plan of talent. I’ve been preaching this for a long time and the smart companies are already doing everything they can to retain their younger talent because they know their companies’ future well being NEEDS younger talent now, and they need to groom them for future leadership positions.
On average, 1 Boomer is retiring every 8 seconds, so companies are also scrambling to retain their employees who are 55+, too. NOT every Boomer was affected by the economic downturn so we have millions of them who CAN retire comfortably at 60-65 years old but companies need their expertise and knowledge to help the younger employees grow.
I’ve written TONS of articles, and have been interviewed by countless media, about these topics because it’s ALL true. But I also find many companies still have their head in the sand and suffer from denial. I have endless research material on the labor shortage the US is facing, and it’s based on the perfect storm of birth rates, Boomers retiring, etc. The numbers don’t lie, people!
Sure, because of the current economy it’s still an “employers” market…however I’ve been warning executives in my seminars that it will change soon, and the competition for talent is going to re-ignite and then it will turn into an “employee” market again and employers will be begging for top talent…and employees will be in control of the whole enchilada.
EMPLOYERS: Start planning NOW and get ahead of the curve…and if you’re a Fortune 500 company, as many of my clients are, YOU really need to take all of this seriously!
Bye for now,
As you read this, Millennial (aka Gen Y) Professionals are being actively recruited prior to, and upon, college graduation. Many are already busy navigating the waters of their first (or second) professional job since graduating.
And as I write this, well-known companies are hiring me to conduct seminars to educate their HR executives and internal recruiters about attracting and recruiting Millennial Professionals, as well as conduct seminars to educate their Gen X and Boomer employees about managing, motivating and retaining them. So, this isn’t just me saying they are a big deal to the future of our professional workforce; companies all over the U.S. and abroad are starting to see it, too.
But before I get into why they are creating a new dimension to diversity, let me give you a snapshot of why this new generation of young professionals has become such a hot commodity in the media and the business world. One key factor is the looming reality of the Boomer Brain Drain that companies across the country are going to feel over the next decade. Here’s one simple statistic, out of many, from the Office of Employment Projections that will quickly put this into perspective: The average large company in the U.S. will lose 30-40% of its workforce due to retirement over the next 5-10 years. Ouch.
And we have as many Gen Xers on the planet as there are going to be, so the replacements for this massive Boomer exodus are the Millennial Professionals. That is why M.B.A. students were being offered amazing employment packages a few years ago, and impressive signing bonuses were being offered. And, due to demand for talent, that trend will pick-up again as the economy recovers. Basically, out of head count necessity, recruiting and retaining them has turned into a big, competitive business.
Through the research for my books, I also realized many Gen X and Boomer professionals in today’s business world rarely have a clue about this new generation entering their domain. This research also led me to understand that the Millennial Professionals have their fair share of complaints about their older work colleagues, and one of their biggest complaints may surprise you.
Aside from companies clamoring to implement, or improve, their rewards and recognition programs, and scrambling to find unique ways to recruit and retain Millennials, they are also dealing with a new dimension to diversity this generation creates. Here is the big complaint I alluded to that may surprise you: Many Millennial employees are claiming to be victims of reverse age discrimination.
We all know age discrimination has typically referred to older employees feeling bumped out by younger co-workers. And this is still an on-going issue as reflected in high profile lawsuits that involve older employees suing companies like FedEx and The Tropicana Casino. In both cases, older employees claim they were laid-off so that the companies could replace them with younger employees who they could be paid less.
But I recently moderated a panel made-up of 5 Millennial women, between 22-26, and they each came from different companies whose names you’d know. All the women had Master’s degrees and each panelist came from a different ethnic background.
When I asked them if they felt they had the same opportunities as their male colleagues, they all quickly said that they felt that gender discrimination was a non-issue (from what they had experienced thus far). And they said that their race was not an issue at work. But they ALL said they face age discrimination on a regular basis and that it was very frustrating.
The 100+ audience members (mainly women in leadership positions ranging in age from 30-60) found this to be so interesting. Most Boomer and Gen X women in business have been battling gender discrimination for years. And, on top of that, many Boomer and Gen X women of color have had to also deal with race discrimination in the workplace. So it was a surprise to the audience that these Millennial women felt neither of those things affected them (at this point in their careers). To them, it was all about not getting respect from older employees because of their age.
Several of the panelists went on to say that they were thankful they were entering the business world at a time when so much correspondence is done online, and relationships are forged virtually, because it gives them the opportunity to establish their credibility with colleagues before having to meet them in-person. Each of the women did look young and they felt that was a liability. I was quick to say they wouldn’t feel that way when they were older…they’d be praying to look young again! But all joking aside, I understood what they were saying and respected their frustration.
On a positive side note in terms of diversity, we have a strong generation of young women coming up and a generation where gender and race lines are becoming blurred. A majority of Millennial women were raised to believe they could do anything boys could do and they were just as important and as smart as boys. This is also the first generation where boys and girls hangout together as platonic “buddies” starting from a young age through college. This is also a generation where over 80% answered “Yes” when asked if they were okay with marrying, dating, or having a life partner outside of their race (2007 California Dreamers Survey conducted by New America Media).
After moderating that panel, and speaking to many more Millennials about their experiences with age discrimination, I now really emphasize the importance of respecting them as “people” when I talk to Boomer and Gen X executives in my popular Get A Grip On Gen Y Seminar. I let them know this generation expects to be respected from Day One, regardless of their age or experience, and that a key strategy for retaining them is respecting their ideas and encouraging them to offer opinions. This may seem like common sense to you, but I talk to many Millennials whose bosses disregard their ideas and/or rarely ask their opinion about anything. Unlike some Boomer and Gen X employees who may tolerate this from their bosses, Millennials will quickly quit.
It is critical for employers to recognize that aside from race, gender and lifestyle diversity, age diversity is now something to be aware of. Younger employees probably won’t sue you based on age discrimination like older ones might, but they can still wreak havoc on your company’s stability. It’s impossible to grow and groom your next generation of leaders if they don’t stay!
Why do smart companies, large and small, spend so much time seeking ways to retain Millennials (a.k.a. Gen Y) and groom them for leadership? It’s truly boils down to basic math.
According to the Employment Policy Foundation (EPF), our country is at the beginning of a labor shortage of approximately 35 million skilled and educated workers, which is estimated to continue over the next two decades – especially now that Baby Boomers are starting to retire at an estimated rate of 1 every 8 seconds.
Out of necessity, Millennials – many of whom may only have one to three years of career experience – are moving into management roles much sooner (and younger!) than the generations before them did – and are expected to perform in these roles successfully. That’s why many companies also hire me to conduct my leadership training workshops and seminars for their Gen Y workforce!
Based on these facts, CareerBuilder.com invited me to write a 3-part series addressing this topic to help employers better retain and groom their Millennial talent for leadership.
All you have to do is submit a 1-2 sentence answer to this question: “What advice do you have for working with Millennials?” (submit to CareerBuilder.com in the comments section of the third article below).
Ten (10) lucky winners will be drawn at random by CareerBuilder.com! But their contest ends tomorrow, May 20th, so submit your answer today. Click here for entry info!
To read my 3-part series, simply click on the links below:
Part One: Six Ways to Retain Your Gen Y Employees
And many thanks to Mary Lorenz, staff writer at CareerBuilder.com and manager of CareerBuilder’s popular blog, TheHiringSite.com. Mary is who contacted me about writing for them. Thank you, Mary, for your interest and support!
Bye for now,