The trouble with Millennials is…

Tough to manage, narcissistic, self-interested, unfocused, lazy and above all with a sense of ‘entitlement’ in the workplace. This is all too often the indictment of leaders and colleagues who work with that group we know as the ‘millennials’.

Simon Sinek describes this group during an interview in August 2017 as being those born after 1984 and who are a product of their upbringing, society, parenting and particularly the impact of the ‘immediacy’ in their lives resulting from their exposure to the world of social media.

A TAB member who runs a technology based business model, has over the past couple of years worked very hard at establishing her company values, ensuring she has the ‘right people in the right seats’ along with introducing more formalised annual appraisals and regular supervisions. She has however shared a frustration in respect to her wish to introduce more formalised Personal Development Plans. This follows recent experience of subordinates making statements around wishing to develop into more senior roles, apparently without thought to the needs for personal commitment and hard work, but failure to do so could see them leaving to move elsewhere.

Where’s the commitment she felt. The commitment to her company, to the team and to working hard to earn these opportunities?

She was also very aware of the differences between the baby boomer era and that of the millennials…..So while Baby Boomers started working with an eye on gaining stability, raising a family, and "settling down," today's young workers take none of that for granted.

Whilst at risk of huge generalisations, she was left unconvinced around the benefits of introducing a process for PDP in her business set against her perceived risk of being asked for potentially unaffordable and unrealistic training requests, or worse that she becomes the next victim of these millennials hit-and-run jobholding. After all, losing an employee after a year means wasting precious time and resources on training & development, only to lose the employee before that investment pays off.

However, she has turned that fear on its head in order to acknowledge the new paradigm of an increasing workforce who are ‘fleet of foot’ and looking to multiple role and career changes during their working life. In fact the average millennial will expect to have between 21 - 31 jobs during their lifetime.

So how to turn that fear on its head? She has begun to proactively start with the ‘end in mind’ and to benefit from increased motivation and engagement from her millennial workforce during the time they are with her company.

She has taken the decision to specifically ask new candidates when they will be looking to leave and what they want to move onto and how her company can help facilitate that. Doing so means she will benefit from positive turnover and churn along with maximising of motivation and engagement.

This does not come with a blank cheque approach to PDP but each individual being tasked to identify where skills and experiences can be gained from within existing resources. These include MD master class time, agreed 1:1 time with the MD, to time spent with peers, other more experience colleagues, different departments etc. In fact a totally open and flexible approach maximising existing knowledge and resources from within the business before any consideration being given to external more formalised training.

She also requests a 'business case’ to be made against any requests for learning and development evidencing the tangible benefits to her business.

So she is now excited at and looking forward to developing a culture, not of entitlement but of increased engagement and motivation to a company committed to personal development recognising the value brought by an increasingly transient workforce.