Shine on You Crazy Diamonds!

So-called “Millennials”, born after 1982, are the first generation of young people entering the workplace in the new millennium. Does it matter that their internet-enabled lives have given them “always-on” access to everything? When in 2015 they begin to out-number Baby-Boomers, how might leaders want to respond?

While some say the Millennials are just “immature” and will “grow out of it”, we are seeing a different, cool or crazy looking group (here are some of its easy to parody hipsters).

In recent months Jot has been tripping across their different mindset (see Sonny, new mentality, Values Revolution etc) in a workplace that is fundamentally changing (see better workplace, open source, wikinomics) through people having greater access to one another, to technology, and to power (see end of power).

Having been exposed to seismic events (9/11, global financial crunch, and some to the falling Berlin Wall) at a formative age, why would they not notice the flaws and vulnerabilities? Could this be adding to their extra-ordinary confidence and reluctance to compromise their values?

Perhaps this really does matter now…

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What are some of the choices our current leaders have?

Understand this generation: how are their desires different from older workers? Here are some further tips from PWC…

  • Get the ‘deal’ right: what are you offering and what do you expect in return? How are your messages on diversity and work/life balance actually landing?

  • Set them free: Millennials want flexibility. Give them clear instructions and concrete targets, then the freedom to work from home or a coffee shop wherever they are most productive.

  • Help them grow: give them assignments that show they are moving towards their own goals. Mix the teams across the generations. Provide opportunities for training, mentoring, innovating, connecting and collaborating to build their networks – for the many, not just the few. Give honest feedback in real time — regularly not annually, and highlight positive contributions and improvements.

  • Allow fast advancement: think of adding more levels, grades or other ‘badges’, to meet their expectations.

  • Expect them to go: many compromised in taking their first job, so the rate of churn will be higher. Build this into your plans.

Without our Millennials we’re probably doomed - because they are the ones who “get” how the world now is, roughly that: we’re broken, economically and socially and morally, between haves and have nots, we’re all interdependent, and we can be so much better when we share!

So encourage your Millennials to be who they are, and hold onto them. “Shine on you crazy diamonds!”