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Millennials For Hire!

About two months ago, I was asked to be a guest panel speaker for a college career center event at a large university with HR professionals. The topic was sourcing to the millennials. The day was spent talking about the workforce coming out of colleges and the needs of businesses. I had a different perspective, not being an HR professional because I help guide individuals through the challenging path of finding their purpose. Helping them to truly understanding who they are and how to communicate those transferable skills to employers. I’m the bridge between.

The day was probably the most fascinating day I’ve experienced to date in Reeder Consulting because it was a dialog between students at the university talking about their “wants” and companies trying to match what they “need.” Let’s just say…there’s a disconnect and anyone who is in this field truly understands.

Career guidance is always a tricky topic because there are many different company cultures and one size does not fit all, which is why it’s incredibly important to know what environment you thrive in professionally. The shift companies are trying to make to focus on what motivates the new workforce to decrease their turnover cost when the millennials want everything now!

How The Game Has Changed

The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation in 2012 published The Millennial Generation Research Review and outlined, among other things, the following:

  • 80 million Millennials have begun entering the world of work, and other generations are taking notice.

  • Millennials score high on IQ tests. They also score higher on such traits as extraversion, self-esteem, self-liking, high expectations, and assertiveness. These traits are purported to often lead to narcissism and entitlement.

  • After commencement, 29% of top college graduates intend to seek employment in the private sector, while 17% have set their sights on the nonprofit field or teaching. Only 2% of respondents plan to work in the federal government after leaving school. Some 27% are looking at graduate school, and the rest are looking at the military and other options.

  • Millennials work best with clear guidelines, frequent and immediate feedback, context, clarity and independence.

  • They prefer to work in teams and make group decisions. They do not deal well with ambiguity and slow processes. They value trust and transparency.

  • The corporate ladder has become more of a career lattice, with Millennials often preferring job rotation to a more time-demanding job promotion.

  • Gen Xers tried to achieve work-life balance; Millennials demand it. At almost twice the size of Gen X, Millennials may just get it with three out of four saying that work-life balance drives their career choices.

  • Millennials expect close relationships and frequent feedback from their managers. They view their managers as coaches or mentors. These bosses—not the corporation—can earn the loyalty of Millennial employees by keeping commitments. A positive relationship with a boss manages Millennial retention risk. The No. 1 reason that this age group leaves a job is directly related to their boss.

  • Welcoming this generation into the workforce will take effort from managers. The benefits will be plentiful as the delivered needs of this generation will bring out the best talents in each employee.

With all of the statistics above, that’s not all of them. The report really is worth reading and digesting. What is required of companies is to step back, take notice and figure out how to do things differently. I truly feel for the Human Resource managers but I also believe that with leadership/coaching principals put in place now, great rewards will be gained.

In sharing my experience from the conference, I had many, MANY professional friends who are not HR individuals almost angry at the “sense of entitlement” from this generation. Comments such as “REALLY, they want to come in at an above average salary range, advance quickly, have flexible work schedules AND be part of the strategic direction of the company immediately or they will leave?” to “How can someone with such limited world experience think they don’t have to go through the important process of working for the positions it took me years to get to because you don’t know everything at 25?” This is where the “sense of entitlement” part of the statistics above comes into play.

What isn’t always understood is millennials are working “smarter, not harder” which is a lesson for all. They learn quickly, adapt, love change and are curious. But what we know for sure is “things are a changing” so understanding the generational difference is critical to success for businesses. At Reeder Consulting, we work to educate our clients on how to be competitive, unique and knowledgeable about the workplace so everyone proceeds with confidence.

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