Meet the Millennials — the World’s Most Populous Generation

They are the children of the Baby Boomers.

Who Are the Millennials and What Sets Them Apart from other Generations?

  • The Great Depression
  • WWII
  • Radio and movies
  • The Vietnam War
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Women’s Lib
  • TV and Rock and Roll
  • Working moms
  • Higher divorce rates
  • The AIDS epidemic
  • MTV and computer video games
  • Tragedies, such as the 911 terrorist act
  • Technology like iPhones and iPads
  • Developments in pop culture like YouTube vlogs and streaming music
  • New social media platforms (Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and instant messaging, etc.)

10 Tips for Successfully Managing Millennials in the Workplace

As a group, Millennials have many positive traits. They are more educated than earlier generations and certainly more tech savvy. They are also the most racially/ethnically diverse generation to date.

1. Stop Resisting Change. Accept New Realities.

Tip 1 has more to do with addressing your own attitudes, assumptions, and mindset.

2. Send the Right Message to Attract Millennial Job Candidates.

Creating the right positive message will help recruit Millennial employees. Keep in mind that traditional compensation packages and reward strategies will have to be adjusted in light of Millennials preferences for things like” life/work balance.” For example, a Millennial may place more value working in a role that offers the possibility of “changing the world for the better” or “making a difference” over a position which benefits package touts long-term job security and steady advancement.

3. Managers Need to Manage Assignments in New Ways.

Many first-time managers of Millennials are startled by their relative indifference to maintaining traditional hierarchical roles in the workplace. Example: At the annual stockholder meeting, the new Millennial intern walks over to the corporate CEO and strikes up a conversation about an issue he or she is concerned about. “Why does this happen?” asks the Non-Millennial manager. One explanation: many Millennials grew up in Baby Boomer households where the parents treated their offspring more as “friends” rather than children who were best seen and not heard. One consequence of this so-called “Peerenting” style of parenting is that Millennials are far less intimidated by authority figures. Reinforcing this behavior is the fact that Millennials are the first generation to have access to the world’s information (thanks to the Internet) without having to go through a hierarchy of gatekeepers.

  • Working collaboratively in groups is perfectly normal for Millennials (in many cases this is how they were educated in school) to the extent that an individual assignment can be seen as a type of cruel and unusual punishment (in contrast to Baby Boomers or Gen X employees who tend to crave individualism).
  • For Millennials, the results are what count. In their minds, it shouldn’t matter if they are working at home one day, clocking in and out at non-standard hours another, or working from a coffee shop on a third day as long as the assignment gets done.
  • Focus more on results, less on methods and work styles
  • Rotate Millennials through a range of assignments to keep their interest levels high and to identify strengths and weaknesses which might not be revealed so easily in group assignments
  • Where appropriate, divide projects into group assignments that are matched to skill sets (rather than assigning projects to individuals only)
  • Where possible, incorporate a mix of Non-Millennial and Millennials on project assignments
  • Brief Non-Millennial employees on why work methods are changing and help them accept these changes

4. Provide (and Solicit) More Frequent Feedback Than You Normally Would.

Many managers report than Millennials prefer frequent feedback. (This may be another consequence of “Peerenting” mentioned above.)

5. Transfer Institutional Knowledge Before It’s Lost.

Many American businesses are sitting on a demographic time bomb.

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