Engaging Millenials

11 11 2011

Millenials. There is no clear definition to the bracket age range of Generation Y, or the Millenial generation, but it is said that they were born sometime between the mid-1970s to the early 2000s; they are the children of baby boomers and are thus also called ‘Echo Boomers.’ And in the U.S., there are a lot of them. In fact, in a recent Harvard Business Review article, the new Coca Cola CEO, Muhtar Kent, stated that the U.S. in particular is a great growth market for Coca Cola because: “It’s the only Western nation with a young demographic that is growing. By 2040 only a quarter of the U.S. population will be over the age of 60, compared with 30% in Europe and 40% in Japan. It’s a diverse, enterprising, entrepreneurial population.” I love that last sentence.

Here’s the tough part, Millenials have faced the highest unemployment rates among the nation’s four living generations and they are more likely than other generations to report a recent job loss; add in two wars and the threat of global terrorism. Moreover, according to the Pew Research Center, because they’re still developing their core values, these effects can be pretty influential.

Yet, the huge wave of Millenials flooding the workplace remains incredibly optimistic and driven. They are digital natives, they are accustomed to ongoing dialogues about their integration in the workplace, and they expect coaching in different forms and with several people. Most importantly, they see education and learning as a currency to cash in for opportunities – and if an organization does not have a pipeline of next steps for career succession, Millenials are willing to move on, even if they have yet to conceive of a Plan B.

On the subject of leaving, a recent study by Mercer noted that nearly one-third of U.S. workers are at least considering leaving their present employers and that younger employees (under age 35) are most at risk in the current environment — 40 percent of employees age 25-34 and 44 percent of employees age 24 and younger are considering leaving. On the flip side, a Towers Watson report indicated that most organizations surveyed expect employees to work more hours than before the recession, and that over half expect this to continue – it also mentioned that organizations underestimate the effect work-related stress and work/life balance have on employee retention, and do not recognize the significance of job security in attracting top talent. There’s a win-win to be found in the integration of reward and talent management programs, now’s the time to get creative and really understand your business, your future, your employees, and a succession plan for all.

Here’s a list of articles to read as a quick bootcamp for engaging the Millenial generation and harnessing their talent:

Millenials truly believe in the total work experience and how it impacts their career succession and personal aspirations, in addition to opportunities for influencing the future growth of their employer and the communities to which they live in. It’s a full-sweep bottom line approach given the social and financial perspectives, but a differentiated approach as to how an organization can retain and attract talent as well. The Millenials are certainly changing the game in many realms, it’s time to utilize their strengths.

Photo courtesy of The Millenials, a documentary by two Clemson seniors.

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