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Who Is More Mature — Millennials or the Adults that Raised Them?

A recent article in the Washington Post got my attention — I could not resist responding to the perverse logic the reporter used to conclude that today’s teens are growing up slower than older generations did when they were young.

There are some things in the article that I do agree with and some things that the reporter got flat wrong. I happen to agree with the premise that the life stage of youth has extended a couple of years, especially for second-wave Millennials (13 to 24-year olds). Psychologist and author Jean Twenge notes in the article, “with longer life expectancies and more resources at their disposal, today’s youth can take a bit more time growing up.” Plus, part of the hand-on helicopter parenting includes longer helicopter rides, often into young adulthood. How are young people supposed to grow up when their parents help them fill out their resumes and accompany them on a job interview?

Here is where the reporter took a wrong term in her analysis: The title of the article is “Not Drinking or Driving, Teens Increasingly Put off Traditional Markers of Adulthood.” It is true that young adults are participating far less in risky behaviors like drinking and driving, having unprotected sex, drug use, participating in violent crime, etc. But it is a perverted view to assume that youth are appropriately on their way to becoming an adult because they drink and drive, and take part in illegal or promiscuous activities. Are these behaviors actually marks of adulthood and maturity? Really? What planet are you from?

According to one Millennial in a focus group conducted by Eventbrite, “It’s pathetic to be drunk and reminds them of their uncool parents.”

The article misses the larger point, that the real reason today’s teens and 20-somethings aren’t taking part in as much risky behavior is that today’s youth are simply more practical and more averse to such risk than youth of prior generations. The teens quoted in the article make valid points, including that they would rather hang out with their friends than engage in activities with serious negative consequences. However, they are also thinking more about their long-term horizons and goals — something many people don’t give today’s youth credit for doing.

Millennials are a generation of achievers, not a generation of snowflakes, as they are compared to often. They have been driven by their parents from a very early age to think about how their activity today will affect their future. So, their time horizons tend to be long-term. This is one of the reasons that despite the ubiquity of social media today, you see very little beer bong videos and embarrassing and compromising escapades by young teens. Yes, of course you will find exceptions to the rule, but by and large, Millennials realize that this behavior will have dire consequences for their career and future job prospects.

So don’t lose sleep over the fact that teens aren’t boozing it up like their parents did. In the immortal words of Pete Townsend and the Who: “The Kids Are All Right”.

second wave millennial using a mobile device

Introducing the Second-wave Millennials

Just as you were starting to figure out how to manage Millennials in the workplace, a major generational shift is underway. Coming to a workplace near you: Second-wave Millennials.

Every generation has a first wave (older cohort) and a second wave (younger cohort). Each wave has slightly different traits because they were raised by the parents of two different generations. Older Millennials are First-wavers (as of 2017, ages 25 to 35), and were raised by Baby Boomer parents. Younger Millennials, coming into the workplace now, are Second-wave Millennials (ages 13 to 24) and were raised by Generation X parents.

As an entire generation, Millennials have broad traits and behaviors that are enduring and unique regardless of the generation that raised them. But within these traits there are subtle differences based on how Boomers raised them compared to how Gen-Xers raised them. These subtleties are apparent in behavioral shifts in the workplace — and managers should take note.

These differences include Second-wave Millennials’ seeming lack of capabilities in written communications for the business world. In addition, face-to-face communication coaching may be necessary to ensure Second-wave Millennials receive adequate training and development regarding eye contact, posture, voice volume, and pace.

In addition, Second-wave Millennials may have challenges around their own ability to solve problems and think critically. Managers may need to provide training on problem-solving processes and tactics.

Lastly, Second-wave Millennials tend to have less self-awareness about their role as a team

member in a workplace setting. Navigating their way as part of a team is often perplexing to them.

Second-wave Millennials, despite these challenges in the workplace, can be developed into incredibly valuable employees. They will give their full loyalty and talent to your company if you invest in them.

CoachingMillennials has been working with a group of curriculum designers to create six training modules specifically for the Second-wave Millennials in your workplace. Our signature program is called “Developing Your Emerging Professionals: Gaining the 4 Skills Required for Workplace Success.”

The workshop covers key skills such as self-awareness, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving. Contact me directly if you’d like more information on this workshop:

warren@coachingmillennials.com, or call (703) 559-9130.

how to boost millennial engagement in person at work

How Do I Get My Millennials to Engage More In Person?

One trend I’ve been noticing in workplaces is the empty break room, where employees would typically gather to take a break from their work routine. There is a generational explanation for this, and it is not that people are necessarily working harder. The fact is that younger employees are more likely to take breaks at their desk, checking social media on their mobile device, or listening to podcasts.

“The young ones hide behind their computer and simply do not engage in person,” managers of Millennials often lament.

The Digital Footprint Started Early

Millennials are, yes, digital natives. In school and at home, Millennials had more electronicdevices and on-demand media than most Baby Boomers ever dreamed possible. With computers in the classroom and at home, the growing ubiquity of cell phones and (later) smartphones, Internet everywhere, wi-fi and video on-demand, it’s no surprise that the generation that grew up with technology is very comfortable engaging with it. In addition, the ability to work from anywhere for many Millennials has made engaging with people in the physical office less critical to productivity.

Give Them a Good Reason to Engage In Person

In recent years, some companies have tried to rein this in and force more in-person engagement among employees. Most notably, IBM in 2017 brought back into the office the company’s work-at- home employees, terminating most telecommuting options as a way to encourage more collaborative product development, comradery and even company loyalty.

Forcing employees to come into the office is, in part, an overblown response to an ongoing myth about Millennials — that they actually prefer to avoid in-person conversations with others, opting for text instead of talk. In fact, repeated studies have shown that Millennials do like in-person communication and even recognize the importance of it in their own career and professional development.

While digital modes of communication make up an important part of Millennials’ productivity and workflow, it’s not digital over in-person or an either/or choice. While some new employees may retreat to their mobile devices until they develop professional friendships, Millennials do come out of their shell and use in-person communication. In particular, they seem to prefer it to digital communications when they need to get help with a project or task, when it comes to learning career-place skills and processes, and in coaching and mentoring relationships.

Ideas to Help Encourage In-person Communications

For managers of Millennials, there are a number of ways to encourage in-person communication among Millennials and other generations of employees.

Have an open-door policy with both the physical space and with communication styles. Regularly hosting “office hours” (the way Millennials’ college professors did) can encourage Millennial employees to walk into executives’ offices and chat about the workplace, goals and strategies.

Develop mentorship and coaching programs that encourage employees to meet for lunch or coffee to discuss professional development, work-life balance and long-term career goals. Mentorship programs are one of the best ways to help make Millennials more loyal to the company and increase engagement and performance.

Create opportunities for teamwork such as professionally-related volunteer opportunities, in-person trainings and activities. Millennials are more emotionally connected to jobs in which they understand and have an active role in how their company contributes to the “greater good” in the community and in the world.

There’s always food. Last week I had a meeting at Bloomberg’s headquarters in NYC. On the sixth floor is a massive reception area with a smorgasbord of free snacks, and Millennials buzzing around everywhere. Coming out of college, many Millennials are comfortable with food-oriented activities. Few things get people away from their desks like treats in the breakroom — but managers may want to center a meeting or activity around those treats to prevent (or at least delay how quickly) those treats being taken straight back to Millennials’ desks.

how to get millennials to hit deadlines

Can Millennials Hit Deadlines?

 

It happens, and it is annoying— you set deadlines and your employees don’t meet them. But it’s more than annoying—it disrupts workflow, affects productivity, and makes everyone else’s job more difficult. Missing deadlines is a universal problem with all generations, but I more frequently hear from managers that Millennial are not hitting their deadlines.

The most common question I hear is: “How can I get my Millennial employees to actually complete a task on time?!” 

Ditch The Lazy Millennial Myth 

Many managers assume that Millennials don’t hit deadlines because they are lazy. But that’s not why. Contrary to the stereotype, most Millennials are not “lazy,” in fact- they are probably the least lazy generation in the workplace. Millennials crave “busy-ness”. They are always on the move, navigating between different tasks on multiple screens. They are multitasking masters of the universe. And this makes sense if you think about how they were raised in a hyper-stimulated environment where they had back-to-back activities filling up their schedules after school and on the weekends, driven by pushy parents.

In fact, with this high-achieving ethic, sometimes they can bite off more than they can chew and this is what gets them into trouble. This is where good management practices can help, so I have three simple suggestions to get Millennials on track for hitting deadlines.

Do These Three Things

Communicate frequently. Millennials want open, honest and transparent communication. They also crave frequent feedback — the annual review, for them, is archaic and unhelpful. Instead, very frequent ‘check-ins’ that let Millennials answer questions, receive feedback and advice, and tackle the next steps will help significantly. Instead of berating them for blowing a deadline, ask them to take the lead on coming up with the steps they will take to ensure the next deadline is met.

Set incremental goals. Employees of any age may be overwhelmed by one big, long-term project. For Millennials in particular, breaking down a big project into several steps with incremental goals and targets will help move that project along. Some workplaces have even implemented “gamification” into their workflows — using game-like systems to reward employees for meeting incremental goals and promoting teamwork to get larger projects and tasks completed on time.

Promote teamwork. Millennials grew up on organized sports teams, doing group projects at schools, and with an emphasis on the larger community (whether that was their school, church or neighborhood). In the workplace, Millennials often seek a feeling of family, community and teamwork. Ensuring they understand how their work, their piece of that large project and their deadlines will help make everyone more successful can go a long way toward motivating them.

 

pink collar jobs millennials

Pink Collar Millennials: Recruiting the Best and Brightest Millennials in Healthcare, Education and Social Services

Hourly work has changed significantly in the past two decades, with many blue-collar jobs (particularly in manufacturing and construction) declining in number. But so-called “pink collar” hourly jobs have been soaring, with employment in educational services, healthcare and social assistance increasing substantially. In fact, a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed four of every 10 jobs that the United States economy added in December 2016 were in healthcare or social assistance. The boom is expected to last for at least another decade.

Even with the positive job growth, pink collar industries face demographic headwinds, and hiring managers in these fields need to be ahead of the issues to attract and retain top Millennial employees. In these fast-growing industries, it can be difficult to find enough qualified, new workers to fill jobs — finding the best employees and keeping them around is even tougher.

Pink Dominance

Pink-collar jobs tend to skew heavily female, particularly in healthcare and education. The ratio of women to men in health care fields such as home health aides, medical assistance and registered nurses is 9:1, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many men feel unsuited for pink-collar work or are simply uninterested in working in a field so dominated by women, leaving hiring managers with a smaller potential workforce.

The Challenge

Hiring managers in pink-collar industries are thus facing a two-pronged challenge: Find, attract and retain the smartest and hardest-working Millennials, and overcome the stigma some men feel against these fields.
Hiring managers can take specific actions that will help overcome these challenges.

Why Are Millennials So Different?

The first step is to effectively recruit Millennials is to understand what makes them different from older generations. Unlike older generations, Millennials were raised to feel special by their parents who catered to many of their needs. They felt protected and valued, and were encouraged to believe they can achieve anything with the right mindset and support system. Collaboration and teamwork was drilled into them as youth, and this carries with them as adults. Finally, they have a strong kinship with technology—they are comfortable with it and see it as a solution-provider.

What to Emphasize When Recruiting

In recruiting messages, highlight the growth and long-term career potential in your industry. It’s not a difficult story to tell — the numbers speak for themselves in many pink-collar industries like healthcare, education, and social assistance. However, make sure you translate those raw numbers into how a job in the industry can develop into a career with opportunities for advancement, long-term professional satisfaction and work-life balance — the things beyond job security that Millennials are seeking.

Hiring managers should also emphasize how their participation in these pink-collar industries will make a positive difference on society and in their own communities. Millennials desire to be part of something bigger than themselves, so tying their work to a larger mission goes a long way in attracting Millennials.

Finally, Millennials get impatient easily, especially when dealing with outdated technology during the application process. Make sure your application process is clear, simple, and speedy. If its not, the best and brightest will see that as a sign that your company does not appreciate the value of technology that can streamline their work environment once they are there.

Final Word

The demand for pink collar jobs is growing and is likely to keep growing over the next decade. At the same time, demographic trends suggest that the supply of able-bodied workers is decreasing. Combine this with a stigma of pink collar work, and you have a challenging equation for employers. Employers that will come out on top are those that value Millennials and adjust their hiring and career advancement practices accordingly to attract the best and brightest of this generation.

How to Attract and Keep Blue-Collar Millennial Employees

Over the past two decades, the nature of hourly work in the United States has changed dramatically — with blue collar jobs making up a smaller percentage of hourly jobs and technological advancement that has yielded significant growth in productivity.

The result: A drastic decline in the demand for blue-collar workers, and a simultaneous “graying” of that workforce. As industries like construction, transportation and warehousing continue to add jobs and grow, being able to attract, train and retain Millennials will be critical to the health of those industries.

Unfortunately for the current leaders in these industries, Millennials — the very workers who in the years to come will be needed to replace outgoing blue-collar retirees — have shown little interest in blue-collar work.

For example, there is a declining percentage of 25- to 34-year-old workers in construction (6.9 percent in 2015, down from 7.9 percent in 2000). According to a 2013 Georgetown University study, 35% of 18- to 24-year-olds worked in a blue-collar job in 1980. By 2010, that share had dropped to 19 percent as the population of people that age in the United States grew.

Why is this happening? In addition to lower demand in some sectors, like manufacturing, blue-collar work has acquired a stigma that drives away Millennials, including stagnant or low wages, a lower quality of life in these careers and more. Millennials who are choosing hourly jobs are often seeking out those that do not necessarily require continuing education or apprenticeship-like training, such as jobs in sales.

How can managers in these blue-collar fields ensure they’re sending positive messages to potential Millennial employees?

Millennials grew up with specific, unique traits that seem to be remarkably inclusive and cut across demographic categories like race, gender and social class. These include being raised to feel special and central to their parents’ lives, feeling protected, believing they can do anything, being team-oriented, and feeling pressured to succeed and achieve.

For hiring managers, this means there are specific, actionable strategies they can use to attract and retain Millennials in their industry. They include:

  • Making Millennials feel like an important part of the team right away by helping them understand how their roles and responsibilities have a positive effect on those around them.
  • Providing counseling and support on life basics such as preparing taxes and saving for retirement, in addition to giving training on “soft skills” so they behave properly in the workplace.
  • Cultivating an upbeat environment and plenty of positive (and frequent) reinforcement that they’re on the right track toward achieving their goals.
  • Equipping Millennials with ways to obtain additional training to advance in their careers.
  • Emphasizing teamwork over individual competition in the workplace.
  • Defining and putting context around how the job they are doing makes a positive difference in the world around them.

In addition, hiring managers must make dedicated efforts in the hiring process to highlight the long-term career potential and growth in these fields. Counter negative assumptions and stereotypes with success stories and early, positive associations. For example, RV manufacturer Thor Industries offers tours to eighth graders and their parents, and also has a presence in schools that lets both audiences know about the well-paid, stable work environment the company provides. The marketing campaign Go Build Alabama, that highlighted above-average earning potential for skilled laborers and emphasized construction as an accessible field to people without college degrees, helped boost applications to apprenticeship programs in the state by 73 percent. Other states have started replicating the program.

Hiring managers should also promote teamwork and leverage Millennials’ team-oriented attitudes. This means recruiting friend groups and creating immersive, multi-day orientation programs that allow time for new hires to bond with their new co-workers. Allow connections during the workday through social media, text messaging and more without assuming these tools are hurting productivity — they can be incorporated into the ways Millennials are used to working.

On an individual level, Millennials appreciate having clear goals and frequent feedback as they work toward those goals. Millennials want tight cycles of feedback (not just a one-per-year performance review) because they have an innate desire to succeed and please those above them.

Managers and executives should also leave the door open for new hires to contribute their ideas. In industries where there may not be much room for this type of input, make it clear how the work Millennials are doing is integral to the team’s mission. Don’t be shy about expressing appreciation for both their work and their ideas. In addition, emphasize how the work their doing helps the larger world or offer volunteer opportunities to increase professional engagement and fulfillment.

While hiring managers of hourly workers in blue-collar industries say the jobs they offer can offer a steppingstone to a fruitful career, it is up to those same hiring managers to convince young job-seekers of this. That requires a new approach to hiring and coaching Millennials.

 

5 Things Millennials are Thankful For

Being a Millennial isn’t easy.

More so than other generations, members of the Millennial generation are dealing with crushing levels of student debt. Forbes reported that 57 percent of Millennials “regret how much they borrowed” for education, and now it’s delaying Millennials’ ability to buy a home, get married or do other things they want to do.

Yet for all the education they have, their job prospects are perpetually uncertain. More than half of Millennials report being “underemployed,” according to an Accenture survey. Many Millennials are turning to “gig economy” jobs – cobbling together a series of part-time or contract jobs to make ends meet. It’s rare for these jobs to come with benefits for retirement savings or health insurance, which puts more even financial pressure on young professionals.

What keeps Millennials awake at night? Retirement, job security and debt, mostly, according to a study by Charles Schwab & Co.

But in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, we would like to recognize that Millennials have much to be thankful for. Here are five of them:

Flexibility at Work

While gig economy jobs may not be ideal in some ways, they do afford Millennials a significant amount of flexibility. Millennials like the way being a full-time freelancer or contractor gives them freedom and independence, career development and learning opportunities they believe a more “traditional” 9-to-5 job wouldn’t.

Even within “traditional” jobs, employers are embracing the notion of a more flexible work schedule. Fully half of the U.S. workforce has a job that is compatible with at least some teleworking, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

Technology plays an important role in this dynamic. Thanks to near-ubiquitous wi-fi, the adoption of tablets, newer workplace communication tools like Asana and Slack and the proliferation of co-working spaces, being productive outside the office is entirely possible.

Technology

Thanks, technology! There’s no doubt Millennials have incorporated digital technology into many, many facets of their life. From driving directions to working remotely to staying in touch with friends and family, Millennials are definitely digital natives.

But don’t get confused – being a digital native does not make Millennials digital addicts. While they appreciate what technology allows them to do, they say it does not replace in-person conversations, particularly in the workplace.

Social Awareness

Millennials are the most socially aware generation to date. They put a priority on social responsibility in many areas of their life. When shopping, they are more willing to pay more for sustainable products and services, according to a Neilsen global study.

Companies are paying attention to this trend in the products and services they offer, and in their commitment to the community. More than 90 percent of Millennials want to work for socially responsible companies. And a Deloitte survey showed 70 percent of Millennials “listed their company’s commitment to the community as an influence on their decision to work there.”

Whether a company is seeking Millennials’ dollars or talent, corporate social responsibility is key and a trend Millennials are thankful for.

Understanding and Involved Parents

Financial stress from student loans and job uncertainty means a lot of Millennials are trying to save money on housing by moving back home with Mom and Dad. Some Millennials are using the money they save on rent to pay back student loans faster so they can move on with their adult lives.

Thank goodness for understanding parents! While there haven’t been many studies about how the parents actually feel about this, more than one-third of college seniors in 2016 planned to live at home for at least a year after graduation, according to the job website Indeed. Millennials grew up with parents who were highly involved in their children’s emotional and educational development and activities.

For employers who are looking to hire recent graduates, it’s likely that prospective Millennial hires’ parents are heavily involved in this process. That may mean answering questions from parents, inviting parents into the office and even reassuring parents that your company has their child’s best professional interests in mind.

Optimism and Drive

Millennials were raised with the belief that they could do anything and be anyone when they grew up. Witnessing the United States’ first black president and the first woman at the top of a major party ticket, as well as seeing Millennial successes like Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, Millennials are ambitious, passionate – and optimistic.

Almost half (49 percent) of Millennials say the country’s best years are ahead of them, but just 42 percent of Generation X members and 44 percent of Baby Boomers say the same, according to Pew Research Center.

That sense of optimism will serve them well both personally and professionally. Optimism has been cited as the single most critical characteristic of successful entrepreneurs. Their optimism may also make them healthier in the long-term, as studies have shown a positive mental outlook has a good affect on cardiovascular health.

For those who are hiring Millennials in the new year, keeping in mind these five things that Millennials appreciate — flexibility, technology, social awareness, involved parents and optimism — will help with successful recruitment, hiring and long-term retention. Millennials will be thankful for managers who coach them, keep their professional goals in mind and allow Millennials the opportunity to be themselves.

4 More Millennial Traits

Last week, we wrote about how Millennials were raised by their parents to feel special, sheltered and confident. Those three Millennial traits mark that generation’s personality, shaped by their parents and the prevailing cultural influences of the times.

But there are four more traits of Millennials worth paying attention to: Team-oriented, Conventional, Achieving and Pressured.

Team-Oriented

There’s a reason why group fitness classes are more popular than ever before: Millennials are the most team sports-oriented generation in history, thanks to the rise of organized sports and parents who focused on group participation activities for their Millennial children. This started early for Millennials, in schools that emphasized group projects and team collaboration.

This team focused orientation set the stage for Millennials’ preference and expectation of working in teams in the workplace. It also sets the stage for managers to play more of a coaching role. The managers who want to attract and retain the best Millennial employees should consider taking on a “coach” role. This means:

  • Building relationships is important, as Millennial employees want to feel like they belong to a team working toward a larger goal or the “greater good” in their career.
  • Cross-generational mentorship is appreciated by Millennials, who want to feel connected to people in other departments, be coached by people with more experience and want to feel part of a community.
  • Embracing open communication and frequent feedback will make Millennials feel welcome and like an important part of the workplace team.

Conventional

It is counter-intuitive to think that “youth” and “conventional” go together. The Baby Boomers led the way in their youth to be unconventional, anti-establishment, and counter-cultural. GenXers followed the Boomers lead by being non-conforming, but in a different, more rule-avoidance way. Millennials, on the other hand, are a truly conventional generation in may respects.

Gallup research revealed, “In addition to finding steady, engaging jobs, millennials want to have high levels of well-being, which means more than being physically fit. Yes, millennials want to be healthy, but they also want a purposeful life, active community and social ties, and financial stability.”

Millennials are waiting longer than their parents and grandparents to get married, have children and buy homes, but not because they don’t want to follow the conventional path of owning a home and raising a family. Millennials are delaying those things due to economic circumstances, i.e.–student loans and tenuous employment situations.

For employers, this means providing Millennials with predictable, stable opportunities to grow their skill set, and a clear career path. Millennials don’t like to “wing it”. They would rather have a plan that extends well into their future and know what to expect for their long-term development. Make sure you provide plenty of opportunity to explain benefits like health insurance, 401ks, and other benefits. Research has shown that Millennials tend be the most conservative when it comes to investing their money. They save at a higher rate than other generations, and are less likely to have their money in the equity market.

Achieving

Millennials want to achieve. Contrary to the common media narrative, they are an ambitious generation that wants to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. As previously noted, Millennials’ parents were more involved and more positive in many ways when it came to how they were raised. Parents had high expectations for their Millennial children, that they can achieve anything they put their minds to and the sky is the limit

This was reinforced as they became older with historical markers that would have been improbable in the past, such as the first black president, the first female Presidential nominee of a major party ticket, and a wildly successful Millennial entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg who transformed the way all generations communicate.

Another indication for this ethic of high achievement is their education level. “Millennials are on track to be the most-educated generation in history,” according to the Pew Research Center. In 2015, about 27 percent of Millennial women had a bachelor’s degree or higher by age 33, and 21 percent of men did. Those are higher percentages than Generation X, the Baby Boomers or the Silent generation by age 33.

So, how does an employer manage an achieving generation? First, never dumb down your message for Millennials. It is condescending and they will see right through it. Set high standards in performance in the work that they do. Be clear about benchmarks and reward them at each step of the process, not just upon completion of a goal. Remember—Millennials grew up in a 24/7 news cycle, texting and IMing. Speed and frequency is important.

Pressured

A lot of that high-achieving attitude Millennials have comes from the pressure they feel to achieve. A survey conducted by Inc.com revealed 67 percent of millennials said they felt “extreme” pressure to succeed, compared to 40 percent of Gen-Xers and 23 percent of Boomers.

In addition to having highly-involved parents and frequent “measurement” of their progress in school, Millennials feel pressured to succeed at a younger and younger age. “In a strange way, the fact that most millennials’ parents raised them thinking ‘the sky is the limit’ and ‘you can do anything you believe you can,’ then when they don’t immediately find success, they feel bad about themselves, and pressure to ramp it up,” wrote Dr. Rose Kumar.

In the workplace, this means recognizing the stress that they are feeling. A stable salary and clear expectations of their role goes a long way to reducing this stress, and can really improve performance, but smart companies are taking it up a notch. Wellness workplaces, programs that encourage physical exercise, a balanced diet, meditation, and a healthy social network are all part of a growing trend in the workplace that all generations can benefit from.

One common theme that runs through all four of these traits is the need for employers to set clear expectations. Research performed by Gallup found that one of the strongest correlations to workplace performance was an employees ability to understand what is expected of them.

Employers shouldn’t “wing it” when it comes to attracting and managing Millennials. Have a plan. Be clear. Think long-term.

zuckerberg

3 Notable Traits of Millennials

Special, sheltered and confident — those three characteristics are among the major traits of Millennials.

Every generation has its own personality—attitudes, behaviors and traits that are shaped by experiences in their formative years. In a generation’s youth, the prevailing cultural, social, and economic environment creates a permanent imprint that lasts a lifetime. This imprint creates signature traits.

For Millennials, there are generally seven of these traits – three of which we’ll address here: special, sheltered and confident. (Watch for next week’s blog post for the other four.)

Special

Members of the Millennial generation were raised believing they are special and important by their parents who kept a close, watchful eye on them.

In addition, Millennials are used to constant or near-instantaneous feedback on their work, thanks to growing up in an era of testing, measuring and ever-faster technology. For managers, this means Millennials in the workplace want faster feedback cycles, more frequent communication on goals and an open-door policy on communication.

It also means mentorship programs are important to them and something they seek out. And companies are responding: A 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey revealed that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of Millennials who had been with their job for 5 or more years had solid mentors in the workplace.

Sheltered

Thanks in part to the 24/7 news era, the parents of Millennials were constantly reminded of the dangers of the world. In response, many Millennials grew up more “sheltered” than previous generations.

With closer relationships to their parents than earlier generations, the economic realities of post-college life for Millennials often means moving back home — back to the place where they felt special, engaged with, wanted and important.

At the workplace, managers of Millennials may take on elements of parenting by taking a more hands-on approach to working with Millennials. Millennials will appreciate managers who give them reachable, incremental goals and rewards for meeting them. Plus, managers should realize that Millennials want to work for someone who “has their back” in the workplace and collaborates with them.

Confident

While Millennials like feeling protected and affirmed, they are also quite confident. Those same parents who raised Millennials to feel special and wanted also raised them to believe they could accomplish anything they put their minds to.

Growing up in an era of self-made billionaires (Mark Zuckerberg is a Millennial), participation trophies and the election (twice) of the first black president, Millennials were raised with the attitude that they can achieve anything they put their mind to.

For managers, that means striking a delicate balance between hand-holding and granting independence and leadership opportunities. It also means trusting them to make solid decisions and manage themselves with proper guidance.

Check out the second part in this series on Millennial traits next week.

Can the GOP Win Back Millennials Before 2020?

Millennials comprise the largest generation of eligible voters this fall. Nearly half of Millennials refuse to identify themselves as Republican or Democrat, but the majority of Millennials are planning to vote for Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8.

Will the GOP be able to recover the Millennial vote before 2020?

Representing 31 percent of the electorate (more than 69 million eligible voters), Millennials are more likely than older voters to favor strong communities, look for collaborative solutions and trust the government. Millennials willingly accept many social trends that some older voters may find threatening, and are more likely than older generations to be optimistic about America’s long-term future.

The Millennial Vote: 2016 and 2020

The reality is that the Republican Party has lost the Millennial vote in 2016. “Millennials back Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by more than 3-1, a new USA TODAY/Rock the Vote Poll finds, but enthusiasm about voting is dipping as a sharply negative campaign enters its final weeks,” USA Today reported this week.

Recovery by 2020 is still possible, but only if the GOP changes the party narrative and resolves its current identity crisis. Some Republican leaders argue Millennials agree with the GOP on certain issues and an appeal more toward individualism and away from divisive social issues will bring Millennials back into the Republican fold.

However, some argue this change is more of a fundamental shift in values. A 2015 Pew report revealed Millennials who identify themselves as Republicans are less conservative than GOP members of older generations.

For a more in-depth look at the Millennials and the GOP — and how Republicans can reconnect with this generation — download “The Millennial Generation: Who They Are and How the GOP Can Connect with Them” below by providing your email address.


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.


white-paper-frontt

Download the white paper (free) here.

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