Working with Chiefs across many industries today, I am struck by the consistency of the number one issue facing companies: how to unlock the potential of a changing workforce (namely, the Millennial Generation.) In its May 20th issue, Time Magazine writer Joel Stein offers his view of what he calls “The New Greatest Generation.” Joel concludes that Millennials will save us all. In my view and experience, we can make choices today to help them do it sooner rather than later.
According to sources like Forbes, Millennials will make up 36% of the US employee base next year, 50% by 2020, and 75% globally by 2030. Stein’s characterization of this group includes terms like business friendly, innovative, sharing, confident, and nice. This group has huge expectations, feels entitled to choices, and they are “going after what they want.” In short, Millennials offer plenty of potential. In my personal experience, concrete steps can be taken to unleash this potential. Here’s an example.
On February 1, 2000 I joined the Internet start-up Opus360 as President and Chief Operating Officer. Just one month later, NASDAQ peaked and the market began a slide that would wipe out 70% of its value. While many will remember that period as the time the market bubble burst, others will mark it as the first year the Millennials entered the workforce.
At Opus, a majority of our employees were Millennials. Thank goodness! There is no question that this group made many important contributions at a critical period in our young life as a company. In addition, the game plan we used to support this group worked particularly well and offers a potential blueprint for others. I call my five-part plan the All-In Roadmap.
Millennials Apply All-In Roadmap Elements
The roadmap starts with discipline, and Millennials have no problem with it. Although their methods of carrying out discipline may look different than those of past generations, at the end of the day Millennials get the job done.
Millennials crave support. They appreciate recognition and expect fair compensation. They need to know they can pave a path within their organization that allows them to do their best work. And when they deliver, commending their work will ensure continued successful collaboration.
They are very creative. Millennials are well equipped to think outside the box, and willing to act on their instincts: both critical when an organization is faced with new challenges.
They are insightful. As a group, Millennials are amazingly self-aware. They know what they want and are aggressive at pursuing it. Organizations that want to attract and retain these talented individuals need to involve them deeply, seek their feedback and act on it.
They support values-based organizations. Millennials seek meaning. It’s not all about money anymore. Millennials want to connect with organizations that stand for the same things they do.
The bottom line: Many Millennials are now ready to lead and the All-In Roadmap is the right tool for the right time. Good luck!