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

New Study: Millennial Males Worse off than Millennial Females

Millennial Males

The employment rate for young men declined from 84% in 2000 to 72% in 2012.

We’ve heard the refrain many times in the last couple of years– young adults are launching their careers later since the Great Recession of 2007-2008. While graduation rates and test scores go up, the ability to secure employment has gone in the opposite direction. According to a new Study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, called “Failure to Launch: Structural Shifts, and the New Lost Generation“, Millennials are far less likely than previous U.S generations to be employed, and when they do become employed, their wages are lower. The study also points out the gender disparity, a disturbing trend that looks bleak for young males graduating from college.

Among the highlights related to gender differences:

1. Millennials, especially Millennial males, are taking longer to launch their careers. From the period 1980 through 2012, the age at which young adults reached the median wage increased from 26 to 30 years old. Meanwhile, older workers’ relative earnings are much higher over that same period of time. Good for Baby Boomers, bad for Millennials.

2. While young women have seen substantial growth in labor force attachment over the past three decades, coinciding with their enormous growth in post-secondary enrollment and educational attainment, young men’s labor force growth has gone down. Young men experienced the greatest declines in workforce participation and employment. Employment rate declined from 84% in 2000 to 72% in 2012.

3. The most common jobs for young adults are concentrated in low wage occupations such as cooks, cashiers, and waitresses. In 1980, young men made 85% of the median wage; In 2012, they earn only 58% of the median wage.

The authors of the report offer some suggestions on how to reverse the trend, focusing on investing in training and education programs for the young. But in today’s rancorous political environment, the likelihood of public sector investments in educational programs is not likely. This, combined with continuing economic malaise, we may be looking at one of the most fundamental shifts in employment trends in U.S. history– a long-term downward trend.

Is there a silver lining? The report points to three positive trends: “While the situation may look dire for today’s generation of young adults, there are several reasons for optimism. First, Millennials themselves are the most optimistic generation: 88 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds think they either have, or will have, enough money in the future to achieve their long-term financial goals.” Second, Millennials are the most-educated generation: 60 percent of women have attained at least some college credit, compared to 52 percent of women from Generation X and 34 percent of baby boomers at the same ages. Third, despite troubling trends in the labor market and changing sociocultural norms, Millennials’ median household income remains the highest of any generation at similar ages.”

This may not be solace for a 20-something who is working two part part time jobs, living in his parent’s basement’ however. We clearly have some work to do.

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com

Millennials: We Suck and We're Sorry

This is ‘nice sarcasm’ at its best. The Millennials tell it like it is

Millennials: We Suck and We’re Sorry

This is ‘nice sarcasm’ at its best. The Millennials tell it like it is

5 Terrible Ways to Manage Millennials

When it comes to Millennials, managers need to exercise caution to avoid irreversible errors

When it comes to Millennials, managers need to exercise caution to avoid irreversible errors.

With all the attention on the right way to manage Millennials, I thought I would share some ‘worst practices’ that I have seen in recent months as a way to help managers avoid irreversible errors in managing and coaching Millennials.

Turnover remains high with Millennials, but research still suggests that Millennials would rather work for “one perfect employer” than hop from job to job. So, here it goes… 5 terrible ways to manage Millennials:

1. Practice Tough Love

Most middle managers and even senior managers fall into the Generation X (ages 32 – 51) category. Xers came of age at a time of economic malaise and cultural tension. For them growing up, the world was a dangerous place. Generation X was the latch-key generation. Unwanted pregnancies reached a peak in the US in the 80’s and early 90’s, risk behavior such as drinking and driving and drug use increased. While Boomers practiced ‘free love’, Xers worried about AIDS.

Because of their tough gritty experiences, Xers entered the workforce, fairly successfully on their own with no help from anyone. They were the survivalists and entrepreneurs that embraced risk with a fiercely independent spirit. I see many Xer managers treat Millennials with the kind of ‘tough love’ mentality that they experienced when they entered the workforce.

News flash: Millennials don’t ‘get’ tough love. Their experience was entirely different growing up. They were raised ‘carefully’ by their helicopter parents who surrounded them with teams of teachers, counselors, physicians, and tutors that worked on every aspect of their development. Their expectation for the workplace is the same. You can’t give a Millennial too much attention.

2. Give them the Big Picture on an Assignment

For as empowered and confident as Millennials are, they need descriptions of assignments in detailed clarity. It is not enough to say, “read through this 1,000-page document and create a 3-page summary”. You would need to identify for them exactly how the summary should be developed, what font and format you want, when you want it by, and what resources are available to help them complete the assignment. Millennials prefer step-by-step explanations in as much detail as possible.

3. Take Their Toys Away

A few years ago, I was doing a research project for a U.S. government agency. We were trying to identify the drivers of satisfaction among Millennials. While the top results all had to do with feedback, two elements emerged that were unexpected: they wanted larger monitors or even two monitors on their desks, and they wanted to be plugged into to their social network throughout the workday. Now, I realize there are some jobs where this would not be possible, but consider the two things that have always been a priority for Millennials– cutting edge technology, and ability to connect to their social network. One hotel manager told me, “I tried to stop them from getting on Facebook, but it was impossible.  Instead, I have designated times for Facebook breaks throughout the day, and this really has helped, not hurt productivity and moral.”

4. Don’t Offer/Explain Benefits

One of the most remarkable and unexpected characteristics of Millennials is their interest in benefits like 401k, retirement, health benefits, wellness and flex programs, etc. It was always assumed that young people don’t care about these things– after all, retirement is a long way off, and young people are generally healthy, but according to a study by MetLife, this does not appear to be the case. In fact, Millennials actually value benefits more than older generations! This is a reversal in thinking, as it was always assumed that phase of life would influence attitudes toward benefits. There is also emerging evidence that Millennials are investing a higher percentage of their income into 401k’s compared to older generations. So, don’t assume that Millennials don’t care about these issues, and make sure you provide plenty of opportunities to explain these benefits in great detail.

5. Try to be ‘Cool’, like Them

This is an awful strategy. Millennials expect older generations to act their age. Millennials already have a very positive and informal relationship with authority figures. Studies have shown that Millennials have a far better relationship with their parents compared to Boomers and Xers when they were young. And Millennials also share many of the same cultural interests as their parents– they watch movies together, listen to the same music, and communicate far more frequently than previous generations. But Millennials value interactions with their own generation. Don’t insert yourself into their friend network and start posting stuff on Facebook and Twitter. If you do, you will not be cool, you will be weird.

What are some of the ‘worst practices’ you’ve heard about in Managing Millennials? Better yet, what works best for you in managing Millennials?

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com

Millennial Job Interview Tips: Use The 3 "C" 's

Interview tips for millennials

When it comes to interviewing be clear, be competent, and be confident.

I typically work with businesses that need assistance in understanding and coaching their Millennial employees. But last week, I had the chance to coach my own Millennial, my son…

Last week he called me on the phone to ask me for advice on a job interview. “Dad”, he said, “I have a job interview on the phone in 90-minutes. They want me to do  a 5-minute sales pitch. Can you help?” Thinking out loud I said “Um, well, probably not– 90-minutes might not be enough time.” There was a pause, and then, thinking of all the cramming session in school over the years that we’d done together that worked out, I said in a measured, Dad-like manner, “Yea, sure, I can help. Let’s do this.”

This was a logistics company that had grown from $1M in 1997 to over $1.3B in 2012. One look at the website and it’s clear that the company has a sale driven culture that takes great pride in the quality of their salespeople and ability to deliver quality to their customers. I never had heard of them before, but this looked like an impressive company!

Nick, had already done much of the preliminary work, scouring their website and Google for relevant information on the company. He had all the raw features and benefits nailed down. He has always been naturally persuasive, charming and sociable. I was not worried about his ability to “connect”, but wanted to make sure there was a framework, or structure to his sales pitch.

Here is what I told him, and perhaps it can be helpful when your Millennial is interviewing for a sales job, or any job, for that matter. Follow these basic principles to coach your Millennial job seeker. They are the three “C”‘s of a job interview:

Be Clear

In a job interview, you must be clear about three things: 1) Who you are (your qualifications and interests), 2) How you fit the role (a list of your skills and knowledge matched to the position’s requirements), and 3) What you know (a solid understanding of the company’s mission, strategy,operations, culture, etc.). Have a plan. Practice what you are going to say. Make it clear and logical. Weave a narrative that makes sense. Tell them why you are in front of them, what lead you to be here, and exactly how you can make a difference in their company based on your unique contributions. Practice you pitch.

Be Competent

These days, there is no excuse for not doing your homework on the company you are interviewing with. Aside from studying their website, make sure to spend some extra time spend doing an article search, search for public filings,review financial statements, and check out the company on sites like Glassdoor.com. Set up Google Alerts with the company’s name and key words revolving around their business. And study. Then, study some more, and write down notes. Millennials are the most educated generation in US history, graduating from high school and college at record rates. This is another homework assignment. Prepare for a job interview like you prepare for a term paper. Have a main argument or thesis, make an outline, and fill in supporting evidence.

Be Confident

It’s hard to prepare for this one. Some applicants are more naturally confident than others, and it is not something you can turn on or off at a moment’s notice. That said, when an applicant is not confident in his or her abilities, the interviewer will pick this up immediately, and prospects for getting the job are hugely diminished. Millennials are well-known for their confidence– it is typically not in short supply. But be genuine and authentic and demonstrate how your confidence can help their company grow. Of course, if this is a sales pitch… make sure you ask for the order! Ask, “what are the next steps?”, and “I’d like to know, how did I do, and would you consider hiring me for the job?” When you ask these questions, it shows that you have initiative and you can ask for the sale, but without being too pushy.

I talked to Nick about an hour after the interview and he told me it went great. They would like him to take the next step for another interview. I was thrilled to hear that.

You’ve been coaching your Millennial throughout their entire life. Don’t stop now.  Just a few simple tips can help him on his way to a better job and the start of a better career.

Millennial Job Interview Tips: Use The 3 “C” ‘s

Interview tips for millennials

When it comes to interviewing be clear, be competent, and be confident.

I typically work with businesses that need assistance in understanding and coaching their Millennial employees. But last week, I had the chance to coach my own Millennial, my son…

Last week he called me on the phone to ask me for advice on a job interview. “Dad”, he said, “I have a job interview on the phone in 90-minutes. They want me to do  a 5-minute sales pitch. Can you help?” Thinking out loud I said “Um, well, probably not– 90-minutes might not be enough time.” There was a pause, and then, thinking of all the cramming session in school over the years that we’d done together that worked out, I said in a measured, Dad-like manner, “Yea, sure, I can help. Let’s do this.”

This was a logistics company that had grown from $1M in 1997 to over $1.3B in 2012. One look at the website and it’s clear that the company has a sale driven culture that takes great pride in the quality of their salespeople and ability to deliver quality to their customers. I never had heard of them before, but this looked like an impressive company!

Nick, had already done much of the preliminary work, scouring their website and Google for relevant information on the company. He had all the raw features and benefits nailed down. He has always been naturally persuasive, charming and sociable. I was not worried about his ability to “connect”, but wanted to make sure there was a framework, or structure to his sales pitch.

Here is what I told him, and perhaps it can be helpful when your Millennial is interviewing for a sales job, or any job, for that matter. Follow these basic principles to coach your Millennial job seeker. They are the three “C”‘s of a job interview:

Be Clear

In a job interview, you must be clear about three things: 1) Who you are (your qualifications and interests), 2) How you fit the role (a list of your skills and knowledge matched to the position’s requirements), and 3) What you know (a solid understanding of the company’s mission, strategy,operations, culture, etc.). Have a plan. Practice what you are going to say. Make it clear and logical. Weave a narrative that makes sense. Tell them why you are in front of them, what lead you to be here, and exactly how you can make a difference in their company based on your unique contributions. Practice you pitch.

Be Competent

These days, there is no excuse for not doing your homework on the company you are interviewing with. Aside from studying their website, make sure to spend some extra time spend doing an article search, search for public filings,review financial statements, and check out the company on sites like Glassdoor.com. Set up Google Alerts with the company’s name and key words revolving around their business. And study. Then, study some more, and write down notes. Millennials are the most educated generation in US history, graduating from high school and college at record rates. This is another homework assignment. Prepare for a job interview like you prepare for a term paper. Have a main argument or thesis, make an outline, and fill in supporting evidence.

Be Confident

It’s hard to prepare for this one. Some applicants are more naturally confident than others, and it is not something you can turn on or off at a moment’s notice. That said, when an applicant is not confident in his or her abilities, the interviewer will pick this up immediately, and prospects for getting the job are hugely diminished. Millennials are well-known for their confidence– it is typically not in short supply. But be genuine and authentic and demonstrate how your confidence can help their company grow. Of course, if this is a sales pitch… make sure you ask for the order! Ask, “what are the next steps?”, and “I’d like to know, how did I do, and would you consider hiring me for the job?” When you ask these questions, it shows that you have initiative and you can ask for the sale, but without being too pushy.

I talked to Nick about an hour after the interview and he told me it went great. They would like him to take the next step for another interview. I was thrilled to hear that.

You’ve been coaching your Millennial throughout their entire life. Don’t stop now.  Just a few simple tips can help him on his way to a better job and the start of a better career.

Quantified Self: A Movement Built by GenXers, Adored by Millennials

Quantified Self

The Quantified Self movement is an example of utilizing technology to track everything from daily mood to heart rate.

Quantified What?

FitBit, Daytum, Mood Panda—you’ll be hearing a lot more about these self-monitoring devices that track your daily experiences in life, measuring everything from heart rate to number of steps taken to sleep patterns. This new biofeedback technology is part of the quantified self movement (also called self-tracking or body hacking) which uses technology to gather data on all aspects of a person’s daily life.

How Big Will It Be?

Apple is so convinced of the demand for these devices, they’ve developed  and entire suite of Apps. Their new App, Digifit,  is strapped onto your body to record your heart rate, pace, speed and cadence of your running, cycling and other athletic activity. PricewaterhouseCoopers has predicted that the worldwide market for mobile health care devices and communications will jump from $4.5 billion in 2013 to $23 billion in 2017.

How Generations Play a Role

What is the generational angle on this? Typical of emerging consumer movements , there are often two generations at play: one that sets the conditions, and one that adopts and consumes. Both Generation X and Millennials play a role here.

Generation X (born between 1961-1981) was the first generation to embrace measurement as it relates to performance. Choice, behavior incentive, and market incentives defines this generation contribution to the business world. While the Boomers were off accomplishing their ‘mission’ (perhaps some ill-defined utopian state) GenXers were quietly measuring impact of activity on performance. GenX Google founders Sergy Brin and Larry Page turned the advertising world upside down by introducing a pay-for-performance model of advertising. Now GenX has found a way to bring measurement and performance to personal human behavior. Most leaders in the Quantified Self movement, first defined by Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly in a 2007 Wired Magazine article, are born in the 1970’s, while the consumers and enthusiasts are born in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Millennials say… Monitor Me, Please

While early wave GenXers and Boomers may be wary of this self-monitoring due to privacy concerns and technology adoption reluctance, Millennials can’t wait to get their hands on this stuff.

Clearly technology adoption plays a role in Millennials’ acceptance of this movement, but it is the culture of Millennials that assure body-hacking is here to stay. As I pointed out in previous blogs, Millennials are much more comfortable sharing their personal information over web, so sharing even intimate details on sleep patterns is not a concern. Furthermore, as Neil Howe points out, Millennials are an achieving generation. They’ve grown up in an environment where test scores matter and there are measured goals (achieving GPA and SAT scores to get into college, etc. ). At the heart of self-monitoring devices is the ability to measure so you can improve. Millennials will accept this challenge with gusto.

Finally, Millennials have grown up in a heavily monitored environment, so there is something comforting about the idea of monitoring their well being. This was the first generation whose parents had the monitor listening devices in their room, so they could hear every peep from the crib. Remember—Millennials trust technology. Technology is their friend.  I can easily see a 24-year old posting her heart rate results on Facebook to the adoring comments from friends and parents “Way to go!” and “Good job!” This positive feedback– the essential motivator for Millennials– encourages better results, of course. And with their close relationship with parents, it is easy to see how texting their results to their parents will be the norm.

So, how can companies take advantage of this new self-monitoring movement, and what implications can this have to your healthcare? Stay tuned for my next blog post for some ideas…

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com

New Poll: Millennials' Tirade on Transparency

Millennial Document Leaks

Recent “data leakers” are all Millennials.

In last week’s blog post Millennials: Full Disclosure or Bust I reasoned that it was no coincidence that three high profile “data leakers” (Snowden, Manning, Swartz) were all Millennials. Now along comes Pew Research with a new poll working in conjunction with USA Today that clarifies once and for all the dramatic attitudinal differences between Millennials and older generations on the contentious topic of technology transparency.

“60% of Millennials think that Edward Snowden’s release of NSA classified data serves the public interest”

According to Pew, 60% of Millennials think that Edward Snowden’s release of NSA classified data serves the public interest, while less than a majority (46%) of older generations believe this. Among those over 65, only 36% are in agreement. Equally as interesting, Obama’s approval ratings have been nose-diving (64% approval in April vs. 54% in June) for the younger generation over the past couple of weeks, in part, I believe, because of this transparency issue. The IRS scandal and now the NSA leaks have been a wake-up call for Millennials that our leaders (especially those over 50) — whether Republicans or Democrats– are all the same when it comes to sequestering information intended for the public.

What’s a leader to do?

It is important to realize that when it comes to Millennials, their formative years with technology are something us older folks have never experienced. And this experience has shaped their attitudes– probably permanently. In other words, this is an attitude that they will not “grow out of.” This is not a “young person thing.” This is not something they will learn their way out of. This is for keeps.

For them, technology has always been free and always been transparent. Millennials don’t like double standards. They grew up with Barney, the community-minded purple dinosaur that put sharing and fairness at the top of his to-do list. If they are going to share all of their secrets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), they expect everybody to share their secrets as well. Quid pro quo.

For Millennials, they do not have a problem with the government watching them, they just want the government to be honest about it, or at least have a sensible policy in place with checks and balances. It is not about privacy, it is about transparency. There is no expectation of privacy, but there is an expectation of transparency.

If you are in HR, I would recommend arranging some professionally-facilitated focus groups around this topic with your Millennial population. Find out what’s on their minds. It is better to hit off a potential problem before you get whacked like the U.S government did. And don’t expect the whacking to stop anytime soon. This is the tip of the iceberg.

My parting words of action: Don’t get whacked. Get smart about Millennials now.

Warren Wright

https://www.coachingmillennials.com

New Poll: Millennials’ Tirade on Transparency

Millennial Document Leaks

Recent “data leakers” are all Millennials.

In last week’s blog post Millennials: Full Disclosure or Bust I reasoned that it was no coincidence that three high profile “data leakers” (Snowden, Manning, Swartz) were all Millennials. Now along comes Pew Research with a new poll working in conjunction with USA Today that clarifies once and for all the dramatic attitudinal differences between Millennials and older generations on the contentious topic of technology transparency.

“60% of Millennials think that Edward Snowden’s release of NSA classified data serves the public interest”

According to Pew, 60% of Millennials think that Edward Snowden’s release of NSA classified data serves the public interest, while less than a majority (46%) of older generations believe this. Among those over 65, only 36% are in agreement. Equally as interesting, Obama’s approval ratings have been nose-diving (64% approval in April vs. 54% in June) for the younger generation over the past couple of weeks, in part, I believe, because of this transparency issue. The IRS scandal and now the NSA leaks have been a wake-up call for Millennials that our leaders (especially those over 50) — whether Republicans or Democrats– are all the same when it comes to sequestering information intended for the public.

What’s a leader to do?

It is important to realize that when it comes to Millennials, their formative years with technology are something us older folks have never experienced. And this experience has shaped their attitudes– probably permanently. In other words, this is an attitude that they will not “grow out of.” This is not a “young person thing.” This is not something they will learn their way out of. This is for keeps.

For them, technology has always been free and always been transparent. Millennials don’t like double standards. They grew up with Barney, the community-minded purple dinosaur that put sharing and fairness at the top of his to-do list. If they are going to share all of their secrets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), they expect everybody to share their secrets as well. Quid pro quo.

For Millennials, they do not have a problem with the government watching them, they just want the government to be honest about it, or at least have a sensible policy in place with checks and balances. It is not about privacy, it is about transparency. There is no expectation of privacy, but there is an expectation of transparency.

If you are in HR, I would recommend arranging some professionally-facilitated focus groups around this topic with your Millennial population. Find out what’s on their minds. It is better to hit off a potential problem before you get whacked like the U.S government did. And don’t expect the whacking to stop anytime soon. This is the tip of the iceberg.

My parting words of action: Don’t get whacked. Get smart about Millennials now.

Warren Wright

https://www.coachingmillennials.com

Millennials: Full Disclosure or Bust

edward_snowden_millennial

Edward Snowden, seen here in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, told the newspaper he was the source of a series of leaked documents from the National Security Agency. (The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras)

The headlines are awash with emerging details on a 29-year old whistleblower named Edward Snowden, who disclosed classified secrets in order to expose the “surveillance state” of the U.S. government. In his role as an analyst for the National Security Agency (NSA), Snowden had access to classified material on a government program named PRISM that gave the government nearly unlimited access to every U.S. citizens’ emails and web-browsing activity.

Snowden, a Millennial, was well aware of the risks he was taking in exposing this top-secret NSA program. It is no coincidence that he and the soldier arrested for passing on classified material to Wikileaks’ Bradley Manning (25-years old), are both Millennials. Earlier this year, Aaron Swartz, age 26, committed suicide after felony charges relating to hacking into MIT’s computer system in order to download some academic journals.

Is it just a coincidence they are all Millennials? Not a chance. What do their actions tell us about Millennials in the workplace, and what do employers need to know about managing this new generation?

Here are 3 things employers should know about Millennials in the workplace:

1. Technology is a Millennial’s best friend, and best friends don’t cross you

Navigating the web, finding new apps, downloading new software programs—

Millennials have a kinship with technology that we have not seen in any previous generation. According to a recent survey by Generations consultancy, LifeCourse Associates, 93% of Millennials use social media for personal reasons, compared to 80% of GenXers and 61% of Boomers. As long as technology is Millennials’ best friend, there is an expectation that this friend, or those responsible for the technology, will not double-cross you.

When Sergy Brin and Larry Page started Google (both GenXers), they came up with a company slogan that they still use today: “Don’t Be Evil.” Little did they know, they created an expectation for an entire generation. Millennials trust technology, in part because technology has been an enabling partner with them from an early age—a source of entertainment, a way to stay close with friends and share things with them, even a way to help them with their school work. Their parents, whom they also trust, gave them their first smart phone in order to stay in touch. Technology is not just a lifeline for Millennials, it is their life.

Millennials don’t mind that you may be watching them, but they do mind if you are doing it secretly. Companies should be clear about their privacy laws, and they should be upfront that, yes, they do have the ability to access employees’ emails, but they are, in fact not evil, they only do it for good reasons.

2. Millennials’ Tolerance for Self-Disclosure is very low

When Baby Boomers were young, their biggest fear was oversight from big brother. George Orwell’s 1984 (written in 1949) was the guidebook for civic distrust of large institutions. Protecting privacy, particularly from the subversive forces of a centrally-controlled government or institution resonated with an entire generation. These days, Millennials gladly put cameras in their own room, and post the most intimate details of their daily activities for all to see. Yes, they will share almost anything, but they have an expectation that everyone else is sharing as well. The Millennial quid pro quo is… “I’ll be transparent, but I expect that you will be transparent too”. Yes, even in the case of the U.S. government, large institutions, or their employer. Our recent Millennial Minute on Salary Sharing speaks to new topic of interest or managers and HR directors: Millennials routinely sharing their information on salaries.

So when there is a perception that an institution is being nothing short of 100% transparent, Millennials will often push back. Lesson? Be transparent. Of course this does not go for the U.S intelligence community, but most employers will do good to go out of their way to be as transparent as possible about the decisions they make. Re-evaluate what you disclose to employees, and consider loosening the reins on information that does not entirely compromise your company’s mission. And if there is information that you cannot share, be explicit about why. For Millennials, honesty will trump secrecy all day long.

3. Save the world now, fat paycheck later…maybe

Millennials have very different priorities than their GenX counterparts. When GenXers were graduating from college in the 1980’s and 1990’s, a common route to a career was an MBA or law degree, then onto the highest paying job possible. Millennials are different. Far more college graduates today (and there are more of them) are going into professions in the non-profit world, and those that accept employment at for-profit companies prefer that the company practices long-term sustainable practices that are good for society. A 2011 Deloitte survey found Millennials who participated frequently in company-sponsored volunteer work are far more likely than their non-volunteering peers to rate their corporate culture as positive, to be proud to work for their company, to feel loyal, to recommend their company to a friend, and to be very satisfied with their employer and with the progression of their career.  Millennials are dedicated to corporate social responsibility, and not recognizing this dynamic can lead to Millennial disengagement and may even prompt them to challenge their employer on issues where they disagree.

What’s an employer to do? Employers need a way to scratch that itch that Millennials have. Make sure your social responsibility programs are not just ad-hoc after thoughts, but are integrated into the company’s core strategy and purpose. And allow Millennials to do social responsibility work on company time. This is worth the investment, as they will be much more likely to work longer hours on the project that you need them to do. Not only can you attract and retain  the most talented Millennials, but you will build a bond of trust that will pay big dividends in the future.

BOTTOM LINE: Get to know your Millennials, understand where they are coming from and why they think the way they do. Be sensitive to their hot spots, and start to work toward a more transparent, authentic operating style that clearly explains what your company believes and why they believe it.

– Warren Wright

https://www.coachingmillennials.com

Millennial Minute: Salary Talk in the Workplace

There is a new trend sweeping the workplace that is driving managers and HR people crazy. Millennials regularly and freely talk about their salaries. Their tolerance for self disclosure is heightened, thanks to a social media environment that encourages it. No wonder they are so free with this salary info. What should you do about this?