Who are Millennials? You’re probably thinking they’re the self-entitled youth responsible for killing the housing and napkin industries. They’re the helpless generation of nearly-30-somethings expecting the world to be handed to them on a silver platter.
While on the surface your views on Millennials may feel justifiable, Gabrielle Bosché, founder of The Millennial Solution, explained the psychology of the Millennial mindset during INTERSECT18, and why they get a bad rap with older generations. Gabrielle is committed to helping us all bridge the gap to Millennial success.
Bosché emphasized generational differences with an icebreaker engaging the whole room in a guessing game to determine the meaning of common Millennial acronyms. This activity taught INTERSECT attendees a bit about communication and commonality.
The majority of participants correctly guessed the more common acronyms like LOL, BTW, or NBD, but most are left scratching their heads at the less commonly known acronyms like NSFW (Not Safe For Work). The exercise made older generations in the audience quickly realize how different Millennials are.
Millennials have made up their own written language, and somehow, older generations have slowly, unknowingly, learned it in an effort to communicate – or at least understand them. As Americans age, you can expect to see more communication struggles between older and younger generations when entering the workforce. At the same time, the exercise showed us how cultures merge and how Millennial language has made its way into the mainstream for the better.
Bosché explained, Millennials are just beginning their careers, and experts anticipate a 50% increase in their employment between 2015-2020. With Baby Boomers retiring, and not enough Gen-X’ers to make up for their absence, companies are filling the gap with Millennials. With the surplus of Millennials in the workforce and employment on the rise, Bosché explained the importance of attracting Millennials to work for your company and even more importantly, retaining them.
“There are three reasons why you should choose a Millennial:
1. GenerationX is 1/3rd the size of the Millennial & Baby Boomer Generation;
2. 10,000 Baby Boomers turned 65 today; and
3. The cost of losing 1 Millennial is 1.5x their salary.”
Bosché said Millennials thrive on pre-set expectations, context of projects, and purpose in their careers. The majority of Millennials entering the workforce have a high school diploma or beyond. In higher education, they were provided a syllabus and told exactly what to expect each day. When they arrive in the professional world, they expect the same – a clear guideline of how to succeed.
Older generations may misunderstand it as “entitlement” when a Millennial begins a new position and asks too many questions about their role. What’s really happening is they are eager to please and want to meet or exceed what’s expected of them.
“Millennials are literally asking, ‘How do I get an A?’” – Gabrielle Bosché
Bosché said including well-defined onboarding, mentoring, and training programs as well as frequent performance evaluations help reduce Millennial turnover within a company.
Millennials need context to thrive in the workforce. Let’s use a metaphor: Your neighbor has a pile of dirt in his backyard. He calls you up and asks you to move it to the other side of his yard. What do you do?
Following generational stereotypes, a Gen-X’er or Baby Boomer would come over with a shovel in-hand. A Millennial would ask WHY you want the dirt moved. What is the purpose of this task? Will I be compensated in some way?
The lack of context acceptable to earlier generations creates tension and confusion for Millennials. Providing context helps them understand how their role fits into a bigger picture and even clues them in on how to better assist you.
Finally, connect all expectations and context back to purpose. Millennials want more than pay and benefits. They want to work somewhere that makes a difference. Like all of us, they want to know their work matters.
Providing purpose to a Millennial’s position within a company makes them understand why their role is important. Bosché explained it’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees know their work matters.
Miscommunication currently creates a barrier between generations in the workforce, and companies will have to respond sooner than later to address it. With the inevitable rise of Millennials in the workforce, companies will need to embrace them as valuable employees and try new approaches to onboarding and retention. They will have to learn to communicate effectively and engage with the upcoming generation in an ever-evolving workplace.
Bosché and her unique insights into engaging Millennials were just one of the many ways INTERSECT18 attendees firmed their foundation for success in their hometowns. Millennials are the workforce you will depend on to get the job done for decades to come. The Greatest Generation started the middle class, told Baby Boomers to get a haircut and a real job, then watched those same Boomers grow the American technological revolution. What will Millennials grow from what we have built? Adapt a bit and watch in wonder to see exactly what these Millennials do in the years to come. It will be amazing.
For more insights, follow Bosché on social media or visit her website at www.millennialsolution.com.