Meet Jacob. He’s a single, thirty-two-year-old, second-generation American living with his parents in the suburbs. He takes the train to work and is saving for his first condo. Jacob’s hoping to move to the city, closer to his office, so he doesn’t have to spend so much time commuting by train. He’s smart, connected to the world through his phone, and frequently finds new ways to tackle problems at his workplace that have been there for years. He wants to advance in his career and his boss supports his initiative and would like to move him into a leadership role in the company. So how can this employer train Jacob so he progresses faster?
What Are Millennials?
Millennials are those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. They are a generation that is often compared to other groups such as Generation X or Z and are considered radically different and at least as influential as their parents or grandparents, the baby boomers. This is mostly due to the fact that they are the largest segment of the working population in most countries, and definitely so in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center.
This is a generation that has had the Internet, mobile communications, and access to a myriad of information and collaboration tools and resources from childhood. They are the least likely to invest in cars, houses, or other ‘status symbols,’ in great part due to the enormous debt they incurred going to school or the lack of hierarchical promotion they receive because the generations above them are staying in the workforce longer.
This is also the generation that is currently in early to middle management – and they are changing the rules. According to Columbia Business School’s Senior Lecturer Todd Jick, because millennials are beginning to run management areas, “…hierarchies are flattening and ‘horizontal cascades’ of messaging are becoming more common and internal. Social media is helping to democratize the organization and drive more transparent dialogue.”
Once they get into management or leadership roles, millennials recognize that the Internet and all the other electronic media available to even small agile organizations have flattened the curve and made global competition stiffer. They recognize that changes must be made for organizations to survive. Millennials rely on larger groups of people both in and outside their companies for advice and as role models. And, consequently, they are looking to balance and democratize decisions, benefits, development opportunities, and learning. Keep reading