They are just so frustrating, never do what you want them to do, and always have a smart retort, as for the Y generation they should be called the YY Generation; why do I have to do that? Why should I do it? Just a few of the emotions expressed by business owners, senior managers (and parents) about the younger millennials.
It seems we could be forgetting that this has happened generation after generation and the main reason it’s so prevalent today is that those now in senior positions are the older generation, the Baby Boomers and Generation Xers – no longer pushing for change but resisting change.
Generation Y #Millennials were typically born between early 1980s to early 2000s – in effect those now peaking in their mid-30’s. A generation comfortable with modern digital technology, the expectation of going to university (50% of UK millennials went to university, compared to 4% in the 50s) and walking into a well paid job, that they’ll walk straight out of if it’s not working for them. Strauss and Howe talk about seven millennial character traits: sheltered, confident, conventional, special, team-oriented, pressured, and achieving – others refer to the millennials sense of entitlement and narcissism – their right to something and being full of themselves. Sound familiar?
Generations are shaped by circumstances: politics, war, economics, unemployment, famine, the environment, all of which is often expressed in their music – a few years ago I witnessed millennials at a party singing and swaying arm in arm along to Disney’s Frozen! Whatever happened to real music, I’m “talkin’ ‘bout our generation”.
And there you have it’s just the “same same but different” generation gap – so if you want to manage and motivate millennials and sustain your business its about adapting to and embracing change – after all who’s going to sustain your pension when you finally retire.
I recently facilitated a conference for SME business owners and managers struggling with this very issue of how to practically adapt and embrace generational change, disguised under the title: How to manage and motivate Millennials. A subject expertly delivered by a successful millennial business owner Rosie Ginday – a Social Entrepreneur Pasty Chef reducing re-offending in young offenders, Founder and Director of Miss Macaroon.
Here are my top five Rosie takeaways:
1. When recruiting video the role and put it on social media
2. Talk endlessly about culture and values
3. Bring everything back to a real business case
4. Understand and help them achieve their long-term ambitions
5. Always focus on improvement, so keep the praise going and reward results
As one millennial business owner said to me following the session “we are just as frustrated with the older staff, as they are with the younger management”.
Image from J M Twenge