Each generation has a label that describes the main characteristics of those born between certain dates: The Silent Generation, 1927-45, the Baby Boomers, 1946-64, the GenXers,1965-80, then the Millennial (GenY) 1981-2000 and finally GenZ, after 2001.
We’ll focus on the Millennial generation from early 20’s to early 30’s to see how they’re different and somewhat at odds with the GenX generation, their potential boss. Then we’ll see how to hire, manage and keep the Millennial talent content and productive.
GenX – Born between 1965 and 1980; Ages 37 to 52
- Street-smart, individualistic and cynical of big government and business
- Raised by money conscious parents (Boomers) without computers until middle or high school
- Wary of commitment, marriage, with divorce early and a rather self-absorbed lifestyle
- Not impressed with authority. Views individual rights over the common good
- While self reliant, they are also skeptical and cautious, averaging 7 career changes
Millennial – Born between 1981 and 2000; Ages 17 to 36
- They are very different from GenX in that they respect authority, are focused and optimistic
- They are organized, scheduled, work in teams and have high expectations of themselves
- They grew up in a digital world, with information at their fingertips and immediacy of data
- They see themselves as special, don’t live to work, and want a relaxed work environment
- They also need a lot of positive reinforcement and expect support from their organization
Millennial workers have an average job turnover of only three years. On the other hand, the executives to whom they report (between the ages of 50-60) have a job turnover of more than 10 years. No wonder management sees the millennial as job hoppers. You can understand how loyalty and commitment are at odds between these generations.
From the younger worker’s perspective, they have more job opportunities than ever. They will be tempted by offers of higher pay or advanced job titles. From the employer’s view, the millennial may not be ready for promotions. The answer? A progressive plan, individually designed, with a targeted outcome in achievable steps: Take on positions of greater responsibilities and gain exposure to different functions, teams and upper management.
Impatience is one of the issues that management needs to help the millennial to manage. It takes between 8 and 15 years to develop the skill sets to be a manager or higher. How does an organization keep the millennial talent engaged and excited about their work to keep them from moving to a competitor: A mentor, positive reinforcement and interesting work.
With the sweet spot of career acceleration between the ages of 25 and 45, organizations must identify the top talent that will become the leadership for the future. Design individualized strategies to provide expanded responsibilities, exposure to higher management and the skill set development to move up the organizational ladder.
Plan for the talent to grow, or lose it.
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