Baby Boomers have been running the show in the business world for the past few decades, but every day, 12,000 Boomers enter their retirement years. This daily exodus of long-entrenched, experienced employees has created a skills gap in some industries, but it’s also opened up new positions of leadership for the youngest generation to join the U.S. workforce – Millennials.

These “kids” were born between 1981 and 2000, and the leading edge of this population bubble is taking on positions of leadership – maybe in their own companies, perhaps in your company.

Millennials are changing the workplace in dramatic ways as they advance into leadership positions. Here are just a few of them:

Higher Employee Turnover Rates
Most Boomers were taught that they should get a job, work 35 years, get a gold watch upon retirement, and live off well-funded pensions. For the vast majority of them, their careers did not fulfill their expectations, but these expectations did color their view of what a career should be, and Boomers are famously loyal to their companies.

Millennials don’t view jobs or careers the way their Boomer parents did. In fact, the average millennial jumps jobs on average every 16 to 18 months. That’s not even enough time to figure out how the copier works!

High turnover rates can get pricey fast. It’s much more cost effective to keep an experienced employee in place than to find and train a new one on the way your business conducts business.

On the other hand, the fact that a Millennial doesn’t view this as the last stop on a long career creates a sense of urgency – to get something done and make a contribution in the short time they expect to have this job. Millennials work hard because they want to move up.

Trouble Taking Direction?
In the childhood competitions Millennials entered, there were usually no losers. Everyone got a “participation trophy.” Grade inflation in schools made everyone a genius. At home, parents rarely exposed them to “tough love.” This culture of praise and unrealistic expectations now moves into the workplace.

Many young employees have never experienced discipline, constructive criticism, or even failure. Discovering the cold hard nitty-gritty of the work grind may be a rude awakening for Millennials. It may take a while for them to realize that they’ll be rewarded or punished for their contributions to the company, not on whether they show up for work.

Technology is the New Normal
Millennials grew up teaching their Boomer parents how to send a text. These young men and women have been shooting aliens and posting to social media for years, so tech isn’t new or scary or complicated. “You just do this, then press this, then touch SEND and see, it’s gone.”

Tech is great for productivity, and Millennials know tech better than many of their older counterparts. You’ll see the use of tech spread into new areas of our lives as more Millennials take positions of business leadership.

Throwing Tradition Out the Window
Millennials don’t place a lot of value on what came before: “Just because that’s how it’s always been done, we’ll keep doing it that way.” In fact, they’re more likely to believe that anything that’s been done the same way for 10 years is obsolete and based on outdated thinking.

Millennials have new ideas and the skills to turn those ideas into reality. As they advance into leadership positions, they’re likely to turn traditional company procedures upside down to shake off the dust. Rather than digging in their heels to oppose change, upper management should be willing to take a fresh look at time-honored traditions and let the new generation of leaders bring the company into the 21st century.

Time is Relative
Millennials don’t think much about time. They define outcomes, develop a statement of work, assign duties, and work through the weekend. The concept of 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, no longer defines “work.” Work isn’t a place, it’s a result – a predicted, planned-for result.

Results-driven Millennials will get the job done, even if they have to pull an all-nighter. On the other hand, they may not come in till noon the next day, so workplace hours are likely to become more flexible in the future.

How to Employ a Millennial Leader
If you’re about to hire your first Millennials, or if you have a few of these ambitious, “fresh-faced” kids on staff, give them leeway within reason. Recognize that these employees’ values differ from your values.

They don’t stand on ceremony and they’re confident they’ll succeed. As a business owner, use this enthusiasm to create an in-house entrepreneurial atmosphere. Let the new kids handle it. Criticize only when necessary and, if these new hires can find a way to boost productivity (and many can) listen – even if the kid explaining the office LAN is younger than your own children.

A new workplace ethos is taking root as tech-savvy Millennials start applying for management positions in your company. Don’t let age or lack of experience deter you from making the right hiring decisions.

Millennials are taking over. It’s time to change the way you think of this new generation of employees, and let them lead your company into the 21st century. The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.

 

 


 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.