About Millennials -R- Us
Millennials -R- Us is a Training and Development firm committed to help organizations communicate, motivate, cultivate, and appreciate Millennial generation employees.
Toms shoes and needy Millennials
In a busy workplace there's no time for coddling. Which leaves many Millennials feeling as if they're wandering alone, not sure if they're doing things correctly, and feeling sure they're going to disappoint someone and be in trouble soon. Without the reassurance or the strokes for "working hard" they will stop giving. Just like Toms, they require to GET something if they're going to give ANYTHING.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Author: J. Lamar Jones
Millennials. Just the name alone seems to conjure up images of lazy, self-entitled teenagers texting their lives away on their cell phones. Ironically enough, those teenagers, those “Millennials” are all grown up now. The general consensus is that the oldest of the Millennial generation was born in 1982. That means there’s a card carrying 30 year old millennial wandering around somewhere, and it’s highly likely that he or she may soon be working with you or for you.
How do you motivate this person, or accomplish productive tasks with this person? Or even just communicate with him or her? It never hurts to ask one. And I happen to be just that. Hi.
I’m a thirty year old Millennial. Well almost. I turn thirty in July, and well, I’m not in a rush to hit thirty. As an almost thirty millennial, I find myself drawn to reading about the coming generation. I compare that fascination to taking personality tests to see just how spot on the test is. I also have a bit of a unique perspective because I am a college drop-out. Well, a former college drop-out. I dropped out at twenty-three and returned at the age of twenty-seven. This thrust me into a college environment filled with group projects alongside much younger millennials. Needless to say, I learned some interesting and surprising lessons. Here’s a few things I learned that might help you:
1) Millennials like gadgets. A lot. No, really.
I think this is a bit of a no-brainer. The stereotype of Millennials being constantly on a laptop, smartphone, or tablet is well deserved. However, here’s the unexpected part: most Millennials, are still capable of working while tweeting, Facebooking, and texting. While writing one of my final papers for college, I was also writing hilarious Facebook updates, tweeting about the paper, and texting a friend who was also struggling through the same paper. This wasn’t just me, but an entire group of Millennials were on social media doing the same thing.
I share that experience to say this: social media/smartphones is going to happen. You can’t make that go away. I get why you’d want to. I also have very frustrating memories of group projects where we all got constantly sidetracked by something someone pinned, tweeted, or Facebooked. I’ve seen engagement photos instead of marketing strategies, forcefeedback steering wheels instead of training scripts, and favstar.fm lists instead of demographic analysis. To say the least, Millennials as a bunch are extremely flighty. It’s not so much a weakness as it is just a characteristic. Occasionally, Millennials need to be put back on focus. However, I feel the need to point out that removing the distraction isn’t the key.
We live in a world where people won’t even turn their phones off during the takeoff and landing of a jet, when literally they’re one text away from a fiery wreck. So instead of policing us, let us have our gadgets, but give us shorter tasks with multiple goals to keep us on task and we’ll be fine.
2) Millennials are Team-Players
I’ve seen movies where college is a competitive environment and everyone is trying to get a leg up by throwing each other under the buss. I’ve also seen movies where a giant lizard wrecks Tokyo. I’ve never seen either of these things in real life. My point? Millennials are team players. Not that we’re not competitive (we like winning as much as the next person), but when faced with team-oriented tasks, Millennials genuinely want the team to succeed as a team. If every does their respective job, Millennials are content with the idea of the team receiving the glory instead of them getting individual glory. What does this mean for employers? Millennials revel in TEAM honors. So maybe their sales team is the number one in the district. Recognition for that team is enough for many Millennials. Extra individual recognition, while nice, isn’t really necessary. We still do like bonuses and money though. (I’m not going to write myself out of a check)
3) Millennials trust PEOPLE, not corporations
Think back to the recent economic downturn that we’ve experienced. When everything hit the fan, who footed most of the blame? More pointedly, who was the CEO of GM when they were bailed out? The six executives of Fannie Mae, anyone remember their names? It’s okay, I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t remember. Some of the blame for that can be placed on the media surrounding those types of economic events.
Think though about how those events are framed. I personally know several GM employees that were collecting pensions. They weren’t personally responsible for GM’s financial woes. In the media , companies and corporations are depicted more and more as being “evil” and “uncaring”. Millennials haven’t missed this. Remember how Generation X didn’t trust "the man"? We don’t trust the corporation. So instead of handing out mandates from the corporation to us, talk to us one on one. Millennials like people, and they’re more likely to listen to a request framed personally, than one that is covered in logos.
These are just three things that should help increase your understanding of Millennials in the work place. Hopefully, these three things prove helpful as more and more of your employees become Millennials.
J Lamar Jones is free lance writer, blogger, and aspiring world conqueror. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @Adjective_J. Further musings can be found out http://fulltimekneegrow.blogspot.com.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
I remember when I was in college I spent a lot of time fussing to everybody around me about how I was taking all these completely pointless classes where I learned stuff I was "never going to use again". Sorry to tell you, but that was all a bunch of jabber.
The fact is that Higher Education is like trash on the ground.
Trash after a marathon that is.
This past weekend the Rocket City Marathon went straight down my running path. I was there running my miles LONG after they had already completed the race and every once in a while I'd see some SHINY trash on the ground. Then I got to where mile 13.1 was marked on the ground (thats the half way mark) there were TONS of trashed packets, everywhere!
What are they? They're basically liquid energy shots. They help runners by putting some carbs and caffeine into their bodies to allow them to KEEP MOVING FORWARD.
Each class you take in your Higher Education experience is like one of those energy shots. They give you "things" you need to move forward in your life. I hear you scoffing, I hear you saying "yeah, Algebra really helped". But I'll ask you this. If that class was really hard and you did everything you could just to pass, didn't it each you perseverance? Well that will be important in your future. A class that you thought was an utter waste of time because you were able to get all you needed from the book? Taught you about self-learning, self-reliance, self-improvement. All skills your future employer will really love!
So yeah, to you, you just "ingested" the material and dropped the trash on the ground, but that class helped you move forward in on your path. And that makes that trash on the ground ULTRA valuable!
That 13.1 mark, well its just your halfway point on the road to life-long learning.
I ask my students each semester who brag online about how they made all A's or "pulled a B in a really hard class" the same question. "Great, BUT WHAT DID YOU LEARN!?" I've found my Millennials are far too focused on the grade they get instead of the material they were supposed to learn. Each semester I have students who KNOWINGLY turn in absolute crappy work, dispute grades with me. If you know you turned in junk and you still think you deserve A, which = excellent don't forget, then you are insane. And there ARE no bonus points at work determining whether you get fired or not. When you sit in a class and choose not to learn any of that material you might as well have just eaten a hamburger half way through your marathon, because you lost a chance to learn valuable material that WILL help you in the future. Maybe the content isn't going to effect your success, but the life-lessons will!
So keep moving forward and take all the "
Friday, May 11, 2012
Baby Boomers (approx 74 million people now between 67yrs - 48yrs old) - Boomers respond very well to Coercive Power. If you threaten to fire them they will work harder. Traditionalist (their parents/ former bosses) were heavy handed, potentially because the workforce was dominantly males and it was normal for "alphas" to bump up against other males. I've also found that female boomers are pretty tough as they've made it in a "mans world", "broke the glass ceiling", and came out the other side. Depending on temperament a Boomer might yell more often, speak louder, and reprimand publicly, and research shows that they primarily do this because this was what was done to them. For all their resistance to their "parents ways" Boomers do have a tendency to mimic Traditionalist patterns in the workplace. Hierarchy is vital, and literally their job IS their identity. Power and title matter to them. They bear scars of their years in the office as a badge of honor sometimes show that they've "earned their stripes" in the workplace. To threaten to fire them is, literally, to remove their identity. So when they experience a reprimand, a threat of termination, etc, they usually work harder. To a Boomer their happiness in a workplace is not as important, because they need the money and they need the identity.
GenX (69.5 million people now between 47yrs-31yrs old): In Keith Gronbach's article, GenY faces culture clash and demographic challenge, he states,"It's all about supply and demand...when Generation X entered the labor force 20 years ago [they followed a] huge Boomer Generation. For every 10 jobs there were only 8 Generation X applicants. This created an employee’s market where employers were forced to pay more for labor that was difficult to find and hire." Essentially Boomers HAD to change things up some for their GenX employees because they NEEDED THEM. For most GenXers (aka Latch-Key Kids) both parents were in the work-place while they were growing up, causing many to feel like their parents job was more important then family. In rebellion to what they experienced, GenXers took a "family first" approach when they entered the workplace (many have returned to one-parent income homes, regardless of degree attainment). So when GenX realized that they were in the buyers market, they began making some new demands on the workforce, for example: telecommuting, paternity leave, longer maternity leave, flex hours, social outlets connected to work, company gyms, daycares, and so much more. Things that Boomers "never would have asked for", much less demanded, but they had no choice but to meet the demand because they NEEDED the next generation. And what did GenX do when they didn't get their way? They started their own businesses. GenXers were taught to respect authority, so when they are threatened, yelled at, etc., they respond somewhat. They have a limit on how much they will take though, and once the line is crossed for them they will quit, especially if it is causing a problem in their home life or happiness. GenXers don't like to disappoint their bosses, especially if they like and respect them, but its extremely unlikely that they will "like" someone who yells at them. To a GenXer it is important whether they are happy or not at work, but depending on how dependent they are on the income they may be willing to take more than the Millennials will. Some might call GenXers a little greedy and selfish, and some might be right.
Millennials (79.5 million people now between 30yrs- 12yrs old): Interestingly, Millennials have been raised by BOTH Boomers and GenXers. The oldest Boomers would have given birth to Millennials entering the workforce in 2012 when they were 45, while the oldest GenXers would have given birth at 25 years old. This is entirely possible, as many Boomers had large gaps between children and GenXers could have been pregnant as young as 15, so Millennials became"co-raised" by both generations. So that's right, you're BOTH to blame for the things you say you despise in this generation. Millennials don't respond to Coercive Power well at all. It's sort of like squeezing a wet bar of soap. The harder you squeeze the more likely the soap is to pop out of your hand. Literally, when you threaten to fire a Millennial, they're online looking for a job within five minutes. Most have the security that they can move home with their parents (assuming they've moved out at all), and they're also calling mom and dad quickly after the threat is made. Ever heard of "helicopter parents"? Let me assure you they're real, I had one email me two weeks ago about their JUNIOR IN COLLEGE. You might have even had some call you at work about their child. Before you get mad about it next time, ask yourself, "have I done that same thing?" In my most recent survey, 1/4th of GenXers and Boomers say that they have encouraged their child to dispute a grade with their teacher. This is going to carry over into their workplace. Their parents, the authority figures in their lives, are their FRIENDS, and friends don't yell or threaten friends. And if they do threaten you, "de-friend" them. So when you yell at a Millennial they a) don't have to take it b) they get even lazier. c) they hide it from you when they make future mistakes. Millennials want to be happy more than anything else, but they also want some money, so they'll work at a place they're unhappy, but they wont work very hard. Millennials actually respond the best to Reward Power, which is what I will discuss next article.The more you micromanage them the more they find ways to manipulate the system.
If you missed my article on Legitimate Power, and what the generations think of Job Titles click HERE.
What do you think? Do you respond well to Coercive Power? Leave a comment and let me know!
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
I just had a conversation with a friend of mine who was discussing some of the generation issues happening at their workplace. You would not believe some of the drama happening and what people are getting "written up" for.
One of the new things being instituted in many companies is a "no social networking" policy. Listen to me people, listen to me, I work with these students every single day, this is going to BLOW UP IN YOUR FACE!
I recently surveyed 89 Millennials born between 1982-2000 about their expectations once they are in the workplace:
32.2% says that they should be allowed to send personal emails while at work.
24.7% say that they should not have any restrictions on their use of social media or cell phone while at work.
32.7% say that they should not get in trouble for coming in 5-10 minutes late.
This is the future. When the economy turns around and 74 million Boomers finally get to retire there are only 69.5 million GenXers available to fill those jobs, and many of those GenXers have chosen to leave the workforce and stay home. The ones who have stayed have been forced to work insane amounts to compensate for the "down economy", so what are you going to do to fill those empty spots? You're going to have to hire Millennials. Untrained Millennials.
Millennials are already discouraged since they haven't been able to find a job right out of college, but the way they are being treated in the workforce is reprehensible. Entire levels of mid-management are being created just to double check the work of Millennials.
Why aren't you making them come up to the bar?
When you set expectations, invest in the Millennial, and empower them to succeed, THEY WILL NOT ONLY COME UP TO THE BAR, THEY'LL SURPASS IT. They're not dumb, they're lazy. We trained them to be lazy, we can UN-TRAIN them.
Think about this, with all of the technology you've purchased to do more work with less employees, hiring a Millennial who actually knows how to WORK that technology honestly gives them a lot more free time than regular employees. You aren't challenging them. You're not giving them hard projects because they "don't have enough experience" and "they're lazy and entitled" blah blah blah... they are BORED. So they're going to get online and on their cell phones because that's how they fill time. (That and they're actually TERRIBLE multi-taskers so they get distracted easily. Probably because their parents swoop in and fill any hole that needs filling before they can notice).
Think of taking away social media as if someone was taking away smoking breaks, or the seven-thousand birthday parties with cake and everything or someone telling you, "no more taking an hour every Monday discussing college and pro football games". You would NEVER let it happen. The watercooler was where you got inspiration, online is where they get inspired! This is how they communicate. Taking away all social media is like taking away their ability to communicate.
My suggestion? Instead of making work more parent-like, and saying "these kids today can't preform at the level we expect them to", then SET THE BAR. Then empower them with the tools and support to be successful. If that hire doesn't preform a the level you want after you have equipped them, well, there are almost 80,000,000 of them after all, keep trying until you find ones that will seize the opportunity and do their best. Because let me promise you, I'm teaching them, and they ARE out there!
Keep moving forward and stop "writing them up" for non-sense. They don't care. Its the equivalent of a high school teacher writing their name on the board for talking during class. It only demotivates them and gives them every reason in the world to either find another job or stop working as hard at yours.
They're not your children, they are employees. Set the bar and watch them reach it.