29 Mar 2017

Posted By:  Phil Dixon

The Millennials Are Coming!

The Millennials Are Coming! The Truth Behind Their Sinister Plot To Overthrow The Modern Workforce

Yes, the rumors are true! The American workforce is being overrun by a new group of young whippersnappers that are going to disrupt the way businesses do business and changing corporate culture.  These so called, “Millennials”, like many generations before them, have been labeled with suspicion and condescension but are they really so different from the generations that came before them? What do they want? Why do we care? So many questions, so little time.

The truth is that for the short period time that Millennials have been in the workforce (generally Millennials were born from the early 80’s to later 90’s) they may be the most feared, studied, misunderstood and understood (no seriously, depending on who you read there are great arguments on both sides) and most assuredly the most made fun of generation to date.

If you don’t believe the Millennials are getting ridiculed do some Millennial meme searching and you will run across gems like the one above or you can watch this extremely informational and lyrical YouTube video entitled, “You’ve Got to Love Millennials” by Micah Tyler that has over 2.8 million views. Funny enough that video was, “…a parody that opened a talk at the Church

Leaders Conference encouraging people to see past the stereotypes and recognizing the unique potential that millennials have!” Even the church is piling on the Millennials!

We can explore the fear, the studies, the misconceptions and the “truths” in great detail in later posts but the purpose of this blog is to briefly give some context to the Millennial numbers, talk about a few things they want (beyond participation trophies and fast track promotions, I kid, it’s not as complicated as you think) and why should business leaders care.

How Many Millennials Are Among Us?

Regardless of what you think about Millennials the reality is they are coming, nigh, they are HERE! The Millennials made up about 35% of the workforce or 55 million workers in 2015 which put them ahead of Gen X (34%) and Baby Boomer and previous groups (31%) (Pew Research Group). That number is expected to rise to 46% of the workforce by 2020 (UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School) and the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics predict 75% of the workforce by 2030. The bottom line is the Millennials are here in force and here to stay. Based upon just the numbers Millennials should warrant the amount of research and spectacular memes that are directed their way because no matter what your opinions are about Millennial’s work ethic, company loyalty and addiction to social media Millennials deserve (and will demand) our understanding, support and attempts to create working environments and company cultures where they can succeed.


What Do Millennials Want?

Some may answer the question, “What do Millennials want?” with a snarky answer like, “Trophies for all!”, “To be promoted to CEO in 5 months”, “Sleeping pods, personal chefs and yoga at lunch”, “Emotional safe spaces” or basically ALL OF THE ABOVE.

While the snarky among us may be right (because those things would be pretty great, right?) I would argue that Millennials want what most employees want and have wanted for many years. The difference is Millennials are just more vocal about their needs and more willing to job hop around until they find it (more on that in a bit) than their predecessors. So, what is it that Millennials really want? In my not so humble opinion Millennials want four basic things:

1) To Feel Valued
2) To Feel Connected To Their Team and Overall Mission of The Company
3) Know How Their Actions Are Contributing To The Whole and Making a Difference
4) To Feel They Are Growing Professionally and Personally year over year
In later posts, we’ll dive into each of those four “wants” but if the above is really the core of the Millennial company culture wish list do Millennials really seem like such needy and unrealistic workforce newbies? I say, a resounding, “nope!” but let’s not let the “truth” about Millennials get in the way of a good meme, right?

Why Do We Care?

Beyond the numbers of Millennials already in the workforce and the significant increase in coming years we (business leaders, HR departments, meme creators) should care because the cost of doing nothing to adjust to Millennial taste and preferences will lead to significant bottom line impact, disruption of business continuity and unnecessary allocation of resources. This is not necessarily a “sinister plot” by Millennials this is just the evolution of modern business. Businesses are going to have to adjust to the Millennials and not the other way around.
The Baby Boomer Generation and generations before them stuck around at jobs much longer than Millennials and according to an Accountemps survey Millennials believe “job hopping” will actually help their careers whereas those in older demographics see job hopping as a bad thing. Millennial’s lack of stigmatization of job hopping and willingness to say what they want and then job hop if they don’t get it combined with the cost of hiring a new employee at 150% or more of their annual salary it is plain to all of us why we should care.


So What Do We DO?

Instead of poking fun at Millennials (although there is a lot of funny stuff out there like this Millennials In The Workplace Training Video) we should collectively embrace the Millennial mindset and vision of company culture that focuses on investing in our employees by communicating with them,

developing them, allowing flexibility and choice when possible and implementing strategies that focus on employee engagement.

See that’s not as bad as having to give everyone trophies or fast tracking promotions to the next Executive Management position, right? The truth is the Millennials are not on their way, they are already here and they are changing the way businesses do business. Some might say the Millennials are changing the workplace for the better (just don’t tell them that because that would ruin all the fun).

What do you think? Are Millennials entitled slackers that “want it all” and are great meme fodder or misunderstood but thoughtful and vocal proponents of a new employee/employer paradigm that will help all employees and businesses excel in the modern era with more engaged and proficient employees. Tell us what you think in the comments and thanks for taking the time to read this article.

For more information on how to engage your Millennial and non-Millennial workforce check out our website  We are pretty good at this engagement stuff.


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