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millennials are digital natives, but not digital addicts

Myth: Millennials are Digital Addicts and Avoid In-Person Communication

Millennials are digital addicts. They post Instagram photos from the dinner table, check Snapchat before they get out of bed in the morning and are more concerned about losing their phone than losing their wallet. Combine this with their inability to have a face-to-face conversation, and, well… the essence of humanity hangs in the balance.

Not so. Studies repeatedly have shown Millennials appreciate in-person engagement through their daily interactions, and in the workplace a strong majority prefer to interact with colleagues in person.

Millennials appreciate flexible schedules and the ability to work from anywhere, and they incorporate digital technology into almost every aspect of their life — but they say digital doesn’t outweigh the value of having a real conversation as part of building strong relationships. Communication for Millennials is not an either/or proposition with digital and in-person. It’s both.

Today, all generations are digitally dependent, but Millennials are the only generation that literally grew up with the internet, search engines, texting, and social media. This makes their interactions with technology more comfortable and seamless with their daily routine. They are indeed, “digital natives,” but it does not means they replace digital interaction at the expense of face-to-face interaction.

Millennials Don’t Always ‘Prefer’ Digital Communications

While Millennials are used to processing a lot of digital information and some seem to have the ability to multitask more efficiently than previous generations, they don’t always prefer digital communication. Studies from the Pew Research Center show that although Millennials send more text messages than members of other generations, their use of the telephone is the same as older adults. And when they can’t figure something out, they would rather talk to a person than get help online. “For many Millennials, person-to-person contact is still a reliable and effective solution to their problems — not something they fear or avoid,” Nielsen Norman Group reported.

This applies in the workplace, too. A Fortune/IBM study shows that when it comes to learning new professional skills, Millennials prefer face-to-face interaction and in-person coaching and mentoring.

Additionally, although many people characterize Millennials as a generation of over-sharers, that same Fortune/IBM study revealed Millennials are more likely to draw a firm line between professionalism and personal sharing than older generations.

Other Generations are Digital Addicts, Too

It’s not just Millennials who love technology. A Nielsen study found that older generations of adults are just as addicted to their mobile devices. Baby Boomers are more likely to use technology during a family meal than their Millennial or Homelander (sometimes called Generation Z) counterparts. More than half of Baby Boomers (52 percent) have admitted to using technology at the dinner table – 12 percent more than Millennials and 14 percent more than Homelanders.

Tips for Managers and Employers

What does all of this mean for the people who manage Millennial employees?

First, don’t assume that Millennials are less communicative than other generations — but be aware that it may be through different mediums at different times. Millennials will appreciate employers and managers who have found flexibility in integrating communications technology in the workplace.

Second, be open to Millennials’ suggestions to new communication tools that can help them (and you) communicate. Many Millennials are using systems like Slack or Asana in managing projects and messaging co-workers about project statuses.

Finally, nothing will replace in-person communication. It’s still key for all employees to have the opportunity to have in-person meetings, and for Millennials, in-person meetings are the best way to show that you care about them.

 

goals

How to Coach Goal-Oriented Millennial Employees

It’s counterintuitive, but Millennials in the workplace are far more goal-oriented than their Boomer and GenX counterparts.

You may be thinking that Millennials are starry-eyed dreamers, but that was the Boomer generation when they were young. Or maybe you are thinking that Millennials are slackers, just drifting to and fro, but that was GenXers when they were young. Of the three generations currently in the workforce, Millennials are decidedly the most focused “on the prize.”

Like all generational traits, their heavily goal-oriented ways started with how they were raised. Millennials were measured and monitored relentlessly growing up by their parents and teachers with a focus on opportunities for growth and meeting their goals. From grades to test scores, credentials and certifications, trophies and rewards, Millennials are familiar with measurements of success against objective benchmarks. Goal attainment is their sweet spot.

In the workplace, it’s no different. Millennial employees crave frequent feedback and progress assessments. An MTV Millennials in the Workplace survey revealed 80 percent of respondents said they preferred “real-time feedback” over more traditional (often annual or semi-annual) performance reviews. Executives at many companies are adjusting to this Millennials mindset by offering more frequent reviews, more forward-looking feedback, and guidance and support to help ensure Millennials meet their professional goals.

There are discussions in some of the most respected companies to banish performance feedback reviews entirely, and replace that onerous process with live, real time feedback. In addition to offering faster feedback and review cycles, managers should establish clear benchmarks, objectively-based performance measurement, incremental goals and rewards for achievement. Providing Millennial employees with short-term goals that can be measured will improve their performance and help them remain professionally satisfied at work.

As digital natives, Millennials also respond well to using technology as a measurement device. Think about the fit-bit device for the workplace. Project management software and systems that introducing a ‘gaming’ element to the workplace (such as those that offer badges or points for achievement) can move Millennials forward at work.

A just-released white paper from Coaching Millennials provides six effective strategies every manager can use to attract, coach, and keep top Millennial talent. Along with helping Millennials focus on and achieve their professional and workplace goals, the white paper discusses the work environment, communication and much more. Taken together, these strategies can get any employer on the path to better performance from their young professionals.


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Download the white paper (free) here.

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Millennials Leading the Way to a Gig Economy

More than one-third of Millennials don’t have a “traditional,” full-time, 9-to-5 job with benefits. Instead, this generation is leading the rise of the “gig economy”. In this new post-recession environment, Millennials are trying to make ends meet and build a career through a variety of freelance and part-time contract jobs.

The term “gig economy” was first coined in reference to the days of 1920s jazz music, where musicians hopped from gig to gig, backing up singers and bands whenever they could to afford to keep playing music and stay on the road traveling. Today, it’s not just musicians performing gigs.

Why Gig?

Three main factors have pushed Millennials toward the gig economy: The economic/political climate, technology, and lifestyle preferences.

On the economic side, it’s all about the continued lack of job growth for Millennials. In the fourth quarter of 2015, Baby Boomers and older Gen-Xers were the ones that added the most jobs (around 378,000), while Millennials and younger Gen-Xers’ jobs shrunk by at least 35,000. Millennials were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. To add insult to injury, many Baby Boomers are delaying retirement, which contributes to fewer jobs available for Millennials.

The Great Recession in the early 2000s occurred just as many Millennials were attempting to enter the workforce, which meant dismal job prospects and the delayed launch of Millennials’ careers. “The result has been a sizable population with no choice but to turn to whatever ‘gig’ comes their way in order to make ends meet,” according to a 2015 Fischer Phillips/Pew Research Center report.

A tiny bright-spot for Millennials was the passage of the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010. This allowed Millennials to stay on their parents’ health plans till age 26. Sure, this is nice, but most Millennials would rather have a full time job and their own insurance, thank you very much.

Technology has also played a role in elevating the gig economy. Mobile connections and wifi have untethered workers from their desks, while social media and project management systems like Slack and Asana, online time tracking and remote desktops have made it easier to stay connected from afar. Combined with the growth of relatively new job markets like Upwork and Contently, which cater to freelancers and contract workers, it’s easier than even for Millennials to find remote work and be productive from anywhere. Millennials are quick adopters of new technology and are used to working from non-traditional offices and working on their own schedule.

Finally, for some Millennials, the lifestyle that a gig provides fits a type of lifestyle preference. Millennials famously value flexibility in their schedule and work environment — two things that gig economy jobs can provide. According to Millennials, the perks of being a full-time freelancer or relying on a series of contract jobs include freedom and independence that they believe a more traditional job may not provide, gaining a wide diversity of experience, having more chances to learn new skills on the job.

Why Not Gig

Despite the short-term benefits that a gig-job provides, most Millennials, given a choice, would rather have a full-time job with a salary, benefits, and an employer that invests in their personal and professional development. In fact, Millennials are more likely to prefer one employer that provides these benefits than start over every time with a new employer or gig. But for now, out of necessity, many Millennials are embracing the gig.

 

Busting Myths: Millennials are Lazy and Perpetually Late

100 million people known as Millennials are lazy and perpetually late. Values like promptness and industriousness have gone by the wayside with this generation. Civilization, as we know it is ending.

But wait, before you retreat to your fallout shelter waiting for the world to end, there is new research that proves otherwise. An increasing number of studies show Millennials are not slackers and, in fact, may have an unhealthy dedication to hard work.

Unlike previous generations, Millennials grew up in the digital age, where everything is on and available all the time. They live in a 24-hour news cycle where emails, texts, tweets and memes are calling out to them at all hours from a device that is never more than an arm’s length away — literally. A survey by Harris Poll finds that 93 percent of Millennials admit to using their phones in bed, 80 percent use their phones in the restroom and 43 percent are connected while sitting at red lights.

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Part of the reason the “lazy” myth has perpetuated is due to a different way of working that Millennials embrace. Used to doing things on the go, work may include answering emails from the gym or a coffee shop. Millennials believe in working just as hard, but don’t feel the need to be anchored to a desk and show “face time” at the office – they can work anywhere.

While Millennials, like all of us, value time away from work, for many the workday does not have a traditional beginning and end. The 9-to-5 schedule only exists in theory for Millennials, 52 percent of whom believe it’s ok to check work emails during dinner compared to 22 percent of Boomers.

Further, Millennials are more likely than older workers to forfeit earned time off, even though they typically earn the fewest vacation days. According to research by GFK for Project Time Off, American workers take just 16 days of vacation per year in 2015 – down from more than 20 days per year between 1978 and 2000.

Millennials are work martyrs. They are more likely than members of other generations to want to show complete dedication. They do not want to be seen as replaceable at work, and they want to stay in consideration for that raise or promotion.

First impressions and professional reputations are particularly important to Millennial employees — even more so than older colleagues, according to research from Weber Shandwick. That research showed Millennials believe the top way to build their reputation at work is by doing a good job and being prompt. Almost half of Millennials surveyed said volunteering for or accepting extra work is a good way to improve their professional reputation.

For those who work with Millennials, understanding their desire for flexible scheduling is critical to helping them succeed and feel professionally satisfied. The majority of Millennials “believe that flexible work schedules make the workplace more productive for people their age.”

Without “face time” as an indicator of work, executives will have to adjust how they measure employee effectiveness. Millennials are keen on being given challenging but achievable goals, particularly if they come with proper support. Measuring their success, then, may include looking at their productivity, whether they are meeting goals and deadlines, how well they collaborate with co-workers, and the extent to which they contribute positively to the team or company.

Millennials’ desire for transparency and openness at work is a factor here, as well. Millennials want to work for companies where managers and executives are accessible and approachable, able to communicate effectively across platforms and follow up.

Managers may want to start getting used to text messaging their employees.

Busting Myths about Millennials: Job Hopping

The ongoing narrative is that Millennials are serial job-hoppers—ungrateful and unloyal. “Why bother hiring them,” managers say, “if they only stay 6 months?”

But new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests this narrative is just not true. It turns out that Millennials are no more likely to “hop” than previous generations when they were young.

The BLS study shows that the average job tenure for 20-somethings (many current Millennials) is the same today as it was in the 1980s, when the oldest members of Generation X were in their 20s, and that how long a young employee stays in a job is more a factor of youth than of generation.

An older study by BLS also revealed job-hopping is largely due to younger employees’ search for their professional strengths, interests and best career path. “Of course, there is significant job movement among young workers, both in terms of employers and types of work. Still, once they settle into a career path, employees become considerably more stable in terms of their work than is generally thought,” according to the study.

The same is true today. Overall, job-hopping tends to stabilize more after age 28 for the majority of workers—and job-hopping seems to happen less for those with higher levels of education, according to BLS data from 2016.

But consider this: For young professionals, job-hopping may have benefits. Trying different jobs at various companies can help them grow professionally, learn about themselves and attain new skills quickly. Further, studies show they may make more money moving from company to company than staying with one company long term: A job change can yield a 10 percent or more increase in salary, whereas the average annual raise is just 3 – 4.5 percent.

What Managers Can Do to Keep the Best Millennial Employees

Staying with one company for an entire professional career is not a “thing” now like it was for previous generations. It just doesn’t happen.

As a manager, it’s important to recognize that Millennials have no qualms about staying with a company long-term — they would just rather do so for a company that values their growth and development the way their parents did as these Millennials grew up.

To do this, managers should show a genuine interest in their younger employees’ career development and long-term goals.

In addition, cross-generational mentoring programs can keep Millennial’s engaged and provide a unique chance to learn more about career development at your company and envision themselves at that company well into the future.

Millennials are most interested in working for companies that help them see the “greater good” in what they do on a day-to-day basis. Managers who make it clear that the work the company does make a difference in people’s lives and makes the world a better place are more likely to have happy employees and lower turnover. Offering volunteer opportunities and community-oriented professional development is also key to keeping these valuable employees around.

Lastly, be transparent and be authentic. Millennials crave honesty and follow-through from their professional leadership on the health and well-being of the company, and the company’s mission, vision and goals. Fostering a culture of openness can help prevent Millennials from getting nervous and looking for new jobs based on false or incomplete information, as they fear layoffs just like their parents did.

Seven years after the great recession, the economy is still in recovery and morphing to a new economic paradigm called the “gig economy”, where Uber driver jobs might be plentiful, but meaningful work with benefits is scarce. If you are an employer that has meaningful work, can provide a growth and development plan, and an openness to skills that young professionals can bring, you have a good shot at stopping the hopping.

workaholics

5 Ways to Get Millennials to Want to Work for You

Ping pong tables, latte machines, free kale smoothies, a nap room — sounds like a paradise workplace for Millennials, right? Maybe — but maybe not.

It turns out that “perks” like this do not make young professionals feel fulfilled at work for the long term.

The first Millennials were graduating college and entering the workforce just a few years after the dot-com bubble burst. Even after that economic collapse, however, many companies were trying to attract young, tech-savvy employees with Silicon Valley-style perks from free food to activities designed to make work “fun”. But these things aren’t what Millennial employees really want at work.

1. Millennials want to work for organizations that offer ways for them to feel engaged and emotionally connected to their jobs, according to research from Gallup. They want to feel good about the impact their role has on their workplace and on the community.

Managers can do this by talking more about why the company’s mission is meaningful to the community and the world at large, and by communicating how the employee fits into that mission. Volunteer opportunities can also make employees feel more connected and engaged at work. (See “3 Ways Millennials are Changing the Workplace” for more on this.)

2. Millennials want to work for companies that have an open and honest communication culture, including frequent check-ins, constructive feedback, defined responsibilities and goals that are achievable with proper support.

Managers can do this by focusing on being authentic, approachable coaches, being a role model and setting up Millennials with a structured and productive mentoring program.

3. Millennials want to work for companies that offer them professional challenges, opportunities for growth and show an interest in their short- and long-term success.

Managers can do this by talking about long-term goals, career path and development and future opportunities. “They want to get on the perfect career track right away, despite their job-hopping reputation, data show that most would prefer to stay with one company that will help them achieve their professional goals,” according to Neil Howe.

4. Millennials will be attracted to companies that integrate their work and their life. This does not mean they want to work 80 hours per week. They don’t want work to become their life, but they do like working hard and taking on professional challenges.

The way they do this is different than previous generations. For Millennials, being chained to a desk can be frustrating, and many Millennials want the flexibility to work outside the standard 9-to-5 schedule. “When Millennials say they want ‘balance,’ they don’t mean work less. They mean work differently and more flexibly. There’s a big difference,” mentioned Cali Williams Yost in a piece for Fast Company.

Managers can do this by allowing some telecommuting and alternative work schedules, while keeping expectations high and communication frequent.

5. Millennials will want to work for companies that offer stability and job security. The oldest members of the Millennial generation were just starting to look for their first full-time jobs when the Great Recession happened and they witnessed (and experienced) high unemployment rates.

Managers should emphasize the long-term prospects of the company’s success and the sustainability of their business model. Millennials have long-term horizons when thinking about their career goals. They would rather have a meaningful career with a sold, stable company, rather than hop from job to job. In fact, the idea that Millennial employees “job hop” more than previous generations is a myth. To the extent that they do job hop, it’s because they are working to gain skills to advance themselves in their career. You don’t want to be that company where they are gaining skills so they can move on to the next company. Managers should be clear that their company provides opportunities for professional growth and development.

Overall, Millennials are looking for good coaches in the workplace who are honest, say one thing and do that thing (not do another); they want CEOs who admit mistakes and are open about the company’s health; they want to understand their role with a company that is making a positive difference in the community and in the world.

The way to attract and keep the best Millennial employees is not with free food.

 

Millennials in the Workplace: Meeting Them Where They Are

Understanding any generation — and working with them effectively and productively — means knowing how they were raised. It is important to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes,” and consider Millennials’ upbringing, how they have been raised and what they value.

In leadership, you cannot fully utilize an individual team member’s strengths unless you really know them and know where they’re coming from. To develop Millennials professionally, it helps as a manager to communicate the way that they understand, taking into account their perspective.

There are certain hot buttons that can spur a Millennial to higher levels of engagement and activity.

  • Members of the Millennial generation were raised to feel special by parents who engaged with them, made them feel wanted and important, and were actively involved in their lives. For employers, that means a more hands-on, self-affirming approach to management that visibly and positively rewards them for accomplishing their goals. Here is where a coaching model to managing really works. (And no, you don’t need to buy a box of trophies. A simple gift card to Starbucks for a job well done works just as well.)
  • Millennials were raised with teamwork, collaboration and community-mindedness. They played team sports, worked on group projects in school and volunteer work was a routine part of their education.
  • They grew up with rapidly developing technology and are comfortable communicating in new ways, across management levels and in an open and honest manner.

Employers should meet Millennials where they are. Here are three ways employers can to do that to encourage professional growth and commitment:

  1. First impressions are everything. For example, you’ll never get their attention if your website is cluttered, difficult to navigate and uses outdated technology. The message that sends to Millennials is that your company isn’t forward-thinking and technologically savvy. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, clean and has up-to-date content, in addition to addressing why the company’s mission matters and what the company does for its community and to better the world.By doing that, you’ll actually attract other generations, too! A great example is wsandco.com, the website of Woodruff Sawyer & Company, an independent insurance company whose website is both well-designed and speaks to the company’s role in the community and world.
  2. Personalize outreach with high-tech and high-touch elements. Give Millennial candidates the chance to speak to both top executives and newly-hired employees.Millennials are keen on transparency and on open and honest communication across professional levels. Millennials are used to being able to reach colleagues and higher-ups through multiple, convenient channels and want to work for CEOs who follow through on promises.
  3. During the recruitment process, give Millennials a chance to speak with not just with human resources staff and their direct potential manager, but with recently hired employees and top executives, too. Recruiters should maintain frequent communication with Millennial applicants, too, without sacrificing formal niceties.

In the onboarding process, schedule immersive orientations in order to build a network of trust among their new peers and foster a sense of community. Welcome Millennials like it’s a privilege to work with them.

A just-released white paper from Coaching Millennials goes over six simple strategies every employer can use to attract, manage, and retain the best Millennial talent. Along with meeting them where they are, the white paper discusses coaching millennials with feedback, creating a positive environment and more. Download the white paper (free) here.


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Download the free white paper here from Coaching Millennials.
Download Guide

the ofice

How Many Generations are in the Workforce?

How many generations of people are in the workforce today? The answer may be fewer than you think.

It is often said there are four or even five generations of people in the full-time labor pool, but the answer hinges on the definition of generation and simple math.

A generation typically spans 18 to 22 years. Currently, 97 percent of the workforce in the United States is 18 to 73 years old, a 56-year spread, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That means it is unlikely you will have more than three generations in your place of business — at least legally — at any given time.

Right now, the generations in the workforce are Baby Boomers, the oldest of whom are in their early 70s, Generation X members, and Millennials, the youngest of whom are just entering their teen years. Generation Z members are barely old enough to stay home alone (see Busting Myths – Generation Z).

Although there are only three generations in the active, full-time workforce, the generational differences are significant. A survey of thousands of employees in the insurance industry, for example, revealed that three-quarters of respondents agreed that there are important generation differences, and those differences “sometimes” or “often” pose challenges in the workplace. (See more about this in “Why Generations Matter” from LifeCourse Associates.)

These differences include how members of each generation set goals for themselves and others, what members of each generation wants from their managers and coworkers, and even how they communicate. Learn more about how Millennials are changing the workplace here.

 

erin

3 Ways Millennials are Changing Your Workplace

 

Every generation that comes into the workplace brings cultural, environmental and other changes. But Millennials are changing modern workplaces in new and different ways that can be challenging to the people trying to manage members of this generation.

From teamwork to goals and feedback, here are the three C’s of how Millennials are changing your workplace.

Community. Millennials want this sense of community in their workplace. For managers, making Millennials feel like part of a larger team, developing a collaborative environment and culture, and emphasizing the “greater good” of a company’s mission the employees’ place in it, and providing volunteer opportunities related to their skills are all key to ensuring Millennials’ professional success and happiness.

Millennials have been raised with this sense of community. Members of the Millennial generation grew up completing group projects in school, playing organized team sports and participating in (often required) volunteer activities in school.

“From early childhood, Millennials have been encouraged by parents to work together and build important peer connections. As young adults, they are constantly connected to their friends and expect their leaders to take a stake in the well-being of the communities they hold dear,” according to a 2015 report from the Congressional Institute and LifeCourse Associates.

Seventy-one percent of respondents to an LBG Associates survey about corporate volunteerism “indicated that they felt more positive about their company as a result of these programs.”

A number of companies are taking big steps to incorporate volunteerism into their culture, including Deloitte, which offers unlimited paid time for volunteer projects. Novo Nordisk also provides significant paid time off to employees who volunteer, but also includes a community service component in most off-site meetings. The company also has an internal website to help employees find volunteer opportunities.

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Confidence. Many Millennials crave an upbeat work environment that includes positive reinforcement from their peers and managers. This is because they were raised with a sense of optimism by parents who taught them to believe they can do anything if they put their mind to it.

Managers of Millennials can help them go far, do great work and achieve professional fulfillment by tapping into Millennials’ sense of optimism and confidence. Providing them with a organized support system is important as these Millennials look to take on new and interesting challenges in the workplace.

They crave frequent achievement that is measurable and attainable. In fact, one of the leading causes of low motivation among Millennials in the workforce is a lack of praise, according to Leadership IQ.

Because of this preference, many companies are moving away from the annual review in favor of project-based, monthly or even weekly review periods, frequent one-on-one meetings with managers and more collaboration on critical tasks. Cargill Inc. replaced its annual reviews with an “Everyday Performance Management” system that gives employees routine feedback. “Cargill says it’s seen measurable improvements after managers began giving constructive feedback that was forward-looking, instead of reviewing what had happened in the past,” FastCompany reported. Other companies building systems for routine and frequent feedback include Adobe, Accenture and Google.

In fact, 80 percent of Millennial employees who responded to an MTV Millennials in the workplace survey said they “would prefer real-time feedback over traditional performance reviews.”

Communication. While each generation has its own language, Millennials are communicating through different platforms than employees in prior decades.

In addition to the ways they communicate, managers should acknowledge that their language and tone are paramount to connecting with members of the Millennial generation. Millennials appreciate honesty and transparency from their managers and they crave feedback, but they also want to be heard. This will require a communication style that is conversational; managers of Millennials should keep their doors open and be approachable.

Millennials may tend to text and chat more and email less, but the real difference is in the now asynchronous nature of the way they communicate, which has changed the way they interact and work, according to Gallup. “With technology dominating every aspect of millennials lives, it’s perhaps not surprising that 41 percent say they prefer to communicate electronically at work than face to face or even over the telephone,” a PwC report revealed.

These three C’s — community, confidence and communication — will continue to mold the workplace of the future as Millennials gain footholds in senior management in the coming years.

6 Keys to Maximizing Millennial Performance

There are more than 100 million Millennials in United States today, and this growing group already makes up one-third of the workforce. With an increasing number of Millennials in the workplace, businesses are smart to ensure they are helping members of this generation perform at their highest levels.

A new white paper from Coaching Millennials tackles six ways to boost their productivity, engagement and leadership capabilities.

Millennials do their best work in environments and workplace cultures that are open and transparent, incorporate consistent feedback on short-term and long-term goals, and nurture teamwork.

Millennials gravitate toward positive environments, and research and experience have shown that a “tough love” approach to managing Millennials is not effective. This white paper, titled “Employer’s Guide to the Millennial Generation: Your Six Keys to Maximizing Millennial Performance,” provides insights and practical steps you can take to maximize your Millennial employee’s professional performance.


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Download the free white paper here from Coaching Millennials.

Download Guide
Millennial Footprint

The Millennial Footprint on Media and Entertainment

Millennial Footprint

The millennial generation will continue to leave a lasting footprint on American culture.

Every generation leaves their footprint on media and entertainment, and it looks like the Millennials’ footprint is likely to be a big one.

Last week at the ThinkLA conference in Los Angeles, I gave a Presentation on this topic. Attending were over 600 executives in the media and entertainment business. Among this group, there is a growing sense of unease about where it’s all going. Long standing business models have been disrupted overnight. In a recent research paper conducted by Ipsos for the Social Media Advertising Consortium, it was reported that 30% of Millennials’ media time (5 hours/day) is now spent with User Generated Content (UGC) created by their friends and peers. Our own research at LifeCourse confirms this. In a recent survey we conducted for twitch.tv, we found that  93% of Millennials go to social networking sites on their smart phones. This compares to 85% of GenXers and only 52% of Boomers. Conventional media like broadcast television is under enormous pressure to stem eroding market share from emerging media, and Millennials are leading this shift.

History shapes generations. Generations shape history.

To understand how Millennials  influence these new trends and discern where it is all going, we need to go back in time to the formative years of their childhood, and their coming of age experience– their own history. These early experiences shape their values and beliefs that remain enduring and unique, and can give us a glimpse into the future. Every generation is shaped by their place in history. Aristotle said that history shapes generations, and then generations shape history.

Millennials were raised during a time of increasing parental involvement. We’ve all heard stories of helicopter parents, clearing the way for their child’s success and achievement. Indeed, Millennials were raised to feel special and instilled with an ethic of achievement. Surrounded by a team of parents, teachers, coaches, and tutors, the expectation of individualized attention as well as a trusting support network allowing them to grow and achieve has always been part of the Millennials coming of age story. Role models at an early age encouraged teamwork and cooperation. Do you remember Barney the Dinosaur? I love you, you love me, we’re one big happy family… By contrast, GenXers grew up to learn to fend for themselves– it was a time of declining parental involvement. One of the iconic figures of their coming of age experience was a Muppet who lived in a garbage can– Oscar the Grouch!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4Sml5MgOcM&rel=0&w=560&h=315]

 

In my presentation, I’ve identified four shaping criteria that is now influencing, and will continue to influence the direction of entertainment and media usage:

  • Hyper-Socialization

Millennials are a connected generation, but it is more than the technology that allows them to connect. Millennials are social, and they seem to love everybody. They love their parents, they love their friends, and they love the community where they live. 82% of teenagers in 2005 (now Millennials in their late 20’s) reported “no problem at all with any family member”. This compares to 75% in 1983, and 48% in 1974. We all know that Millennials are the “friend” generation. In our 2014 LifeCourse survey, 55% of Millennials agreed with the statement, “My friends are the most important thing in my life”. This compares to 44% for GenXers and 40% of Boomers. But it is not just about being social and liking friends and family… it is about doing things together. Millennials like to work with others and collaborate in teams. In the world of video gaming, long thought of as a lonely geek activity, 72% of Millennials play video games with their friends or family members.

Perhaps the most telling event in recent media history about Millennials’ propensity for hyper-socialization and doing things together was the recent phenomenon called Twitch Plays Pokémon. Here is how it worked: An anonymous gamer from Australia developed a program on one of the world’s most popular live streaming sites for Millennials called twitch.tv. On twitch.tv, gamers input over 112 million commands to vote on how the main character should move. Together, they beat the game in 16 days. Twitch Plays Pokémon is now a regular site feature where users play assorted Pokémon titles together. Furthermore, users have also enhanced the game in ways the creator could not have anticipated, from creating memes in Photoshop to planning Pokémon battle strategies on social media.  In essence, this one game created a thriving community of its own.

  • First Life/Second Life Blend

Unlike Boomer and GenXers, who adapted to today’s technology, Millennials are digital natives. Their orientation is entirely different than older generations. They spend more time in front of a screen (10 hrs per days vs. 8 hrs for Xers and 7 hrs for Boomers), and they are the first generation that feels as much ‘at home’ with their second life on the internet as their first life (their actual real life). IRL is a common acronym going around today– it stands for In Real Life, as opposed to “life” on the internet. The fact that Millennials need to distinguish between the two suggests that there would otherwise be confusion for which is which. This is a remarkable paradigm shift that can’t be overstated. Indeed, in the LifeCourse survey for twitch, 52% of Millennials think that life is like a video game. Millennials quite simply trust technology. It was there with them in their crib, and has always been a dependable partner, so no wonder Millennials gravitate toward this second life of technology.

All of this means that as far as media and entertainment preferences, Millennials are likely to get deeper into interactive media– spend more time and become more engaged on the internet and in their second life, and of course, bringing their friends and family with them.

  • The Maker Movement

Like many new movements in the last few years, this one started with geeks in their basements. The whole maker culture represents learning by doing in a social environment. The maker movement is networked, informal, peer-led, and motivated by fun, learning, and achievement. This is quintessential Millennial! We know that Millennials are highly networked to their peers, and we also know that the notion of achievement is very important to them. Schools have increasingly been focused on achievement standards, and Millennials are on track to becoming the best educated generation in U.S. history. Good performance is a source of pride and social capital for Millennials, and the maker culture encourages both.

The rise in Millennials time spend with User Generated Content (UGC) is up to 30%. This is content that is created by their friends and peers. Earlier this year, Disney purchased Maker Studios for a deal worth about $900 million. Microsoft introduced Project Spark to the gaming community, and program that allows players to create their own characters, plot lines, settings, etc. All of these events point to a Maker Movement and this has “Millennial” written all over it.

As to the implications of Maker Movement on Media and Entertainment, expect more Millennials to be using today’s technology tools to advance their education and the their avocation. I predict that the entertainment industry will reshape the education business in America and throughout the world. After all, entertainers know how to grab your attention and keep you engaged.

  • The Barney Effect

The purple dinosaur that millions of Millennials watched as children encouraged teamwork, cooperation, respect, and fairness. Whether it is support for same sex marriage, or support to reduce the income gap, Millennials’ values of equity, respect and fairness were forged in their early years. Millennials are the first generation since the GI’s (pre-WW II) to value a middle class. 72% of Millennials believe the government should work hard to reduce the income gap between the rich and the poor, according to a 2014 CNN poll.

Along with this fairness and equity ethic comes Millennials’ embrace for brands that have a socially conscious element to it. Millennials scored higher than GenXers of Boomers when agreeing with the two statement “having a positive impact on society is important to me” and “It is important to me companies I buy products from support social causes.”

This notion of equity and fairness extends to expectations Millennials have on their participation in how products and brands are developed. This is often accomplished through crowdsourcing, which is second nature to Millennials. Ben and Jerry’s was one of the first companies to crowdsource flavors. According to the LifeCourse publication Social Intelligence, “Millennials expect brands to listen to their feedback and engage in two-way, interactive conversation with them.” Wasn’t it Barney who originally taught them to participate and share?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqfJ1_zjEjA]

The Three Key Words for the Footprint: Participate, Create, and Share

Those that are paying attention to the footprint are finding ways for Millennials to participate, create, and share in their media experience: Participate because Millennials feel that it is important to have their voice heard in the decisions being made, whether it is an ice cream flavor, or privacy policy on Facebook. Create because Millennials are leading the original Maker culture with an active and engaged mindset to learn, build, and achieve. And finally, Share, because Millennials value open transparency and dialogue, and advocate a crowdsourcing mentality. Follow the Participate-Create-Share mantra and watch your audience grow.

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com

Top four reasons that Millennials are leaving their “dream jobs”

Millennials Dream Job

60% of Millennials leave their jobs within a 3-year period

Warren Wright is Executive Vice President of LifeCourse Associates, a publishing, speaking, and consulting company built on the generational discoveries of Neil Howe and William Strauss. Warren has spent over twenty-five years in leadership roles at companies that use behavioral sciences, statistics, organizational development, change management, and media to help their clients.

Last week I came across a study that said 60% of Millennials leave their jobs within a 3-year period. This was part of the much publicized Millennial Branding Report that was released in August. Among the findings, 51% of companies report that the cost of training and development is highest when hiring Millennials. This is obvious, as on-boarding costs for new talent requires far more resources and development. 56% of employers revealed that it takes 3 to 7 weeks to hire a fully productive Millennial into a new role. This statistic is a little concerning, as it seems the expectations of companies is too high in terms of getting new employees up to speed on a role. Well managed companies with typically invest several months, not weeks in on-boarding and development.

  • 60% of Millennials leave their jobs within a 3-year period
  • 51% of companies report that the cost of training and development is highest when hiring Millennials
  • 56% of employers revealed that it takes 3 to 7 weeks to hire a fully productive Millennial into a new role

The top four reasons that Millennials are leaving their “dream jobs” might be less about Millennials and more about their managers. When I worked at Gallup, our consulting mantra revolved around the notion that your manager is responsible for 85% of your experience with the company you work for– they can make you or break you. It turns out that the reason for high Millennial turnover is bad management. Listed below are four reasons Millennials say they are leaving their dream job, and each one of thee reasons has to do the difference between good management practices and bad management practices:

#1: “No one is asking for my feedback”

Clue: If your Millennial isn’t happy, find out why. This is management 101. Frequent check-ins are critical especially early on ones career, and especially for Millennials, who are known as the “Feedback generation”.

#2. “I wasn’t clear about opportunities for advancement”

Clue: Provide clear opportunities for advancement (in excruciating detail). Millennials like to see a clear path for advancement, and it does not have to be straight up the ladder… it can be different responsibilities at the same level. The important thing is that the path is clear and someone is guiding them along the way.

#3. “The job was advertised as one thing, but it turned out to be something else”

Clue: Never inflate or misrepresent a role. Be completely honest about job expectations. Recruiters in HR try to put their best foot forward, but sometimes, if the job seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Always temper job expectations with reality about the job.

#4. “It seemed like no one cared about me”

Clue: Show that you care. This is a big one. Remember, Millennials grew up with an entire team that was looking out for their well-being: parents, teachers, coaches, doctors, etc. Transitioning into the workplace  can be an entirely different environment than their life experience up until their first job. Frequent check-ins, feedback sessions, praise for good work, and constructive criticism for missing the mark– these are all important elements to successfully managing Millennials.

In summary, many of the reasons Millennials are leaving their jobs is directly related to the quality of the manager to foster high levels of productivity of the employees he or she manages. Millennials seem to be forcing the bigger issue of demanding better management overall. As they say, a rising tide raises all ships– better management not only helps Millennial employees, but all employees.

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com