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Millennials are not the issue

Millennials are not the Issue

This past week I spoke with a group of executives about increasing collaboration amongst their leadership teams. The discussion invariably tilted toward the challenges they were experiencing in attracting (and more importantly) keeping younger talent. As the discussion progressed I took a moment to point out some possibly not so obvious considerations.

1. The difficulty older generations have in understanding how younger generations think is an age-old problem. Literally. My parents are still wondering why I quit the security of my last job despite my unhappiness.

2. We have enticed younger generations to pursue higher degrees in education and provided greater autonomy both at home and in school, but we haven’t created parallels in their working environments.

3. Quite possibly, the expectations we hold for the working behaviors and values of younger generations are biases that they in turn hold against us. We need to find a way to come together in common understanding of the value all generations can bring to the workplace.

My point was simple. For every new generation that enters the workforce, previous generations will struggle to understand them. This has been the case for years now (I can tell you dozens of stories about families in business together in which parents struggle to understand their children and vice versa), and will continue to be so into the future.

If you are struggling to attract and/or retain Millennials, try these steps in the coming week:

1. Interview a handful of your youngest employees, as well as a few of your more senior employees. Ask them what brought them to work for your company? What keeps them coming back each day?

2. From this feedback, ensure positive comments are used as a basis for your employee attraction practices. If for example everyone appreciates the flexible work hours, ensure this benefit is clearly stated in all job promotions. If feedback suggests the area is a great place to live, ensure your company is gaining exposure to other potential employees in the area through sponsorships and events.

3. Consider areas or departments within the business where leadership may not be demonstrating these qualities, attributes or characteristics that were noted as desirable by the majority of the employees. What further education, training or improvements can you make to ensure consistency in positive experiences by your employees?

There has always been and will continue to be differences in how each generation of employees perceives the value of working with each other. As we evolve in how we treat, raise and educate our children, we must also make parallel adjustments in our work environments. Millennials are not the issue, rather collectively we need to create a working environment that continues to evolve and meet the changing needs of our customers and employees.

© Shawn Casemore 2017. All rights reserved.

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