Millennials have a lot to offer & CEO’S/ Presidents Diverse in Business know it
By; Myeshi Briley,MS,HS-BCP
President Spring-Klein Chamber of Commerce
Millennials today make up most of the labor force (one in three American employees). Consequently, corporate leaders need to start today to develop the leaders of tomorrow are their companies won’t have much of a future. Most upper executives reached mid-management positions by their mid-thirties, which fast-tracked them to C-level roles later in their career. These same top leaders must in turn develop the talent of millennials, who possess the ability but not the experience. Engage senior leaders to align millennial talent with a shared cohesive vision and direction for your organization.
Millennials Want Mentoring
Millennials would rather be leaders than followers. They find the opportunity to learn from a mentor enticing. By teaming upper management with millennials in ‘reverse mentoring’ you offer the younger generation career path guidance directly from senior executives. They gain a precious peek into the world of top-level management. Plus the firm gets a chance to transfer corporate knowledge to their younger talent.
This generation is eager for training. Consider assigning projects to millennials that allow them to network. Another thing is cross-training on a quarterly basis. Invite professors or business coaches for presentations on various types of management or leadership fundamentals. This will help employees understand the company’s strategic course and its organizational issues.
In addition to career development, you need to tap into this generation’s strengths. For that, you must encompass the way millennials engage, grow and learn. You need to work with them and not discourage them. As the president of the Spring Klein Chamber of Commerce, I cater to young entrepreneurs in the area. Half of our board is made up of millennials. I encourage them to bring their ideas to the table.
Listening to millennials and taking their ideas seriously is the best way to motivate and retain them. Create activities and venues where they can voice their ideas and they’ll propose inspired solutions to issues. Brainstorming meetings allow them to get to know other employees and gain visibility. Give your millennial employees varied responsibilities, propose projects that include a learning component. This generation works harder when challenged.
Outdated, Rigid Work Styles Hold Them Back
The millennials’ enthusiasm will have a positive influence on your firm. Their connection with social media along with their adaptation to the latest technology is key to your organization’s future. This will prove vital to your company’s development as you look for new, innovative ideas. Keep in mind, they were raised in a digital world and communicate electronically…rather than face-to-face. Relying on mobile platforms: phones, tablets, laptops for work and projects…they collaborate in open gathering spaces and often work from home.
Personal time is important to them. Millennials pursue a balanced life and flexibility. With a focus on results not hours, they don’t have a clocking in and out work style…they might work from home or a coffee house. Set deadlines for them and if they complete their work to your standards, they are finished for the day.
Offer Rapid Progression
Career advancement traditionally depended on seniority, but millennials value results over tenure. Create a strategic plan that illustrates what their future looks like at your firm. Let high achievers, who have the potential to rise up the ranks quickly, do so. Otherwise they’ll get frustrated.
One reason millennials want to rush up the career ladder is compensation, because they begin work with an average debt of $20,000 in student loans. Also, they don’t think they’ll ever see a pension or social security check, so they expect they’ll have to create their own financial independence in retirement. Basically, this generation merely wants to get paid what they’re worth. If you can’t afford raises, offer them more vacation time and flexibility—a day off for a job well done goes a long way with millennials. They are also the most educated generation in history and they are continuous learners, so offering tuition reimbursement programs will increase retention rates.
A Stimulating Career
Millennials want to contribute something to the world and they have a passion for international settings. Most want at least one overseas assignment during their career. They also want to be proud of their employer’s corporate values. They want to work for a company that strives to improve its community. This generation looks for employers with good environmental and social records, and many will leave a company if they find the firm lacks values.
Owning to social media, millennials like instant feedback. A yearly review isn’t enough for them. They require frequent, honest feedback in real time. They expect praise for a job well done. Regularly highlight their positive contributions.
Set well-defined targets for millennials and touch base with them often. A transparent management system, detailing how performance is rewarded gives them a feeling of value, and the motivation to work hard. Millennials prefer open communication, so have an open door policy and make yourself accessible. When employees offer constructive criticism, invite them to present a business solution and give it serious consideration.
The Latest Technology
Millennials assume the technology that empowers their personal lives will drive communication and innovation in the workplace. Update your IT plan and provide state of the art technology. However, this generation is more effective at work when they also have access to their own personal technical devices.
The millennial workforce is composed of more minorities and women than any other generation. Consequently, they bring in fresh ideas and contrasting perspectives. Workplace diversity is important to millennials and it helps eliminate challenges stemming from gender and diversity gaps that currently effect many corporations.
Millennials are an asset as they are the future leaders. But their greatest resource is previous generations who went through the same things they are facing: a bad economy and a tightening job market. And the older generation can learn from the younger one as well. Both offer attributes that complement each other. This is important, as the baby boomers leaving the work force will be replaced by the millennials. So now is the time to prepare for that future. As a CEO I have been a huge leader in understanding the market and changing to help support future leaders. Loving change is one of my best qualities, when others hate change.