Millennials are Your Future??

As the Boomer generation (ages 51-69, born between Millnl1946 and 1954) crosses the retirement threshold, organizations are turning to the next class – Generation X (ages 35-50, born between 1970 and 1985) – to move in and up to take their place.

As this process continues, openings are created at the entry level of the organization and the next generation responding to the open positions are known as Millennials (ages 18-29, born between 1985 and 1997).

Businesses have seen this employee churn occur annually and have successfully recruited, trained and integrated new employees effectively for decades. Is this about to change? Is there something unique about the Millennial generation that will cause a shakeup in how businesses recruit, train and develop new employees for future positions?

Let’s take a close look at the data!

Worker Generation History
Each class of employees from the Greatest Generation to Millennials have been influenced by the previous generation (i.e. their parents), technology and social changes that affect the way people entering the work force see themselves, available opportunities and the role of the employer in their lives.

Generation Age Range as of 2015 Youth Culture Influence Work Ethic
Greatest 88-105 Depression, Served in WWII Loyalty to employers, job tenure, timeliness, productivity
Silent 70-87 Raised during/served in WWII
Boomer 51-69 Post WWII babies, Hippy Gen, served in Vietnam, Cold War, Space Exploration Value based on hours worked, team work, less emphasis on productivity, loyalty to those they work with
GenX 35-50 Dot Com, MTV, Mass Media Casual work environment, flexibility, place to learn, work smarter not harder, value control of their time, open communication, loyalty to a person they can trust
Millenial 23-34 Internet, mobile computing Search for the person to help achieve their goals, constant open communication and reinforcement from management, work to live rather than to work.


Attitudes toward employees and the work environment have changed over time from that which was firm and fixed to one that is more friendly and flexible. Older companies are slower to change and are more set in their ways (reflecting the age profile of existing employees) where new companies led by younger leadership teams tend to be more responsive to change and the needs and interests of the age group they are recruiting.

Needs of Millennials
In 2020, Millennials will represent 46% of the work force and are a radically different group from the previous generations due to a number of factors:

  1. They are untethered and flexible. They are marrying, starting families, and buying homes later.
  2. Status quo is boring, innovation is it! More committed to being on the leading edge of technology, marketing and social networking.
  3. Much more adaptable to multi-tasking over their older peers.
  4. Highly connected with others over the internet.
  5. They are more focused on value and meaning in their work over money.
  6. They are tuned into products and services that provide solutions to social issues.
  7. They are more impatient about advancement or moving, they are more open to flexible work schedules, and more methodical in their work, yet they show up later and work shorter hours.

Your recruiting process needs to take these traits into account. The Millennial pool of talent possesses the needed skills and knowledge to meet the dynamic challenges facing your business in the next 5 to 10 years.

  • Continued reduction in windows of market opportunity that rapidly open and close,
  • Rapid adoption of internet marketing via social networking by local, regional and global companies.
  • An agile work force that can quickly adapt to changing market conditions.

Successful businesses 10 years from now will have mastered the ability to recruit and integrate the “right” Millennials into their organizations.

How does this affect you?
Every company depends upon new blood to build the pipeline of experienced employees that will be their core employees and leadership team of the future. It was once possible to hire from the Greatest and Boomer generations and successfully indoctrinate the new employees into the culture of the company. More care must be taken recruiting Millennials to match their interest and ability with the new position they will first occupy. Where employees had to adapt to the work environment of the business, successfully employing Millennials may require reengineering the work environment and company culture to the needs and interests of the Millennial.

Traditional recruiting standards should still apply relative to identifying the degree to which the candidate has:

  • Demonstrated accomplishments
  • Dealt with adversity
  • An effective work ethic
  • Effective communication skills
  • Competency with technology tools

In addition, the Millennial profile of the candidate needs to be identified, which may require a different approach to the interview process. Include other Millennials you have already hired to participate in the process, which will assist in getting multiple impressions and also play a role in selling the company to the candidate.

Once hired, you will need to stay in contact with them to understand how they are adapting to the organization, and how well the position is responding to their passion and interests. Be prepared to make changes in the work environment, which may include coaching their immediate supervisor on how to establish a stronger relationship, or to coach the senior people to be open to being “mentored” in the new skills, and knowledge that the Millennial brings to the team. You will also need to examine your own ability to be more transparent about sharing information about the business.

Your first reaction may be, “Is it worth it to hire Millennials?” If you have the long-range interests of your business in mind, it’s in your best interest to find a way to successfully employ Millennials as their presence in the work force increases. The likelihood of the Millennial behavior passing is unlikely. The rapid change in technology and social change are key drivers in this new behavior, which are not expected to revert back to the old days.

Resisting change in your office work environment and trying to get Millennials to adapt to your way of doing business will be an uphill battle. They will be dissatisfied and likely move on. The next employee hired will most likely be another Millennial.

The Millennial generation is here to stay. How can you adapt yourself and your business?” Lay the groundwork for a successful perpetuation of your business with a Millennial work force.

Leave a Reply