Millennials. The new Talent on the block.

For those not in ‘the know’, Millennials are the generation born between 1980-2000, who reached young adulthood by the year 2000. Hence the name.

They are the next generation following Generation X (1960’s-1980’s) who were known as rebellious, outlaws and were shaped by disappointment and fragmentation. G-X (5 Million in Canada, 52 Million in the USA) have a strong desire to stay young and cool. They envy the Millennials who are a bunch of highly motivated individuals, which along with the desire to be older – Have a career and a relationship – their success is defined by doing something they love, not fuelled by making tonnes of money. They value passions, pursuing their goals and remaining true to themselves – preserving their authenticity. Being the largest generation since the Baby Boomers from 1946 and 1964, there are 9 million Millennials in Canada and a staggering 76 Million in the USA. Despite the sheer size of this generation, it is surprising to hear that their way of life is defined by key moments of crisis such as 911, Facebook and American Idol – With Global Warming also playing its part.

So what are these newbies like in the workplace? A post by Caroline Beaton from The Huffington Post called “Too Young to Lead?” lends 5 tips to employing them…

Create Your Opportunity

Find Complements

Get Good

Work Where Age Doesn’t Matter

Practice Humility

Whereas Jared Buckley’s article on The Huffington Post, “12 principles to developing Millennial Talent” says that “Businesses that strategize and systemise their talent development with the Millennial generation and post-Millennial generation will outrun all it’s competitors. After all, the Millennial generation will not only be 50% of the workforce by 2020, but will also have many seats at the executives tables by then”. Take a look at his 12 Principles to Developing Millennial Talent here.

What Employees Want:


A Great Manager

Fair Pay & Benefits

A Personal Life Outside Work

A Purpose

Millennials, like the Baby Boomer & Gen X generation, want all of these things, but surprisingly they prioritise them differently. M’s are less concerned with security and more willing to take risks to obtain their goals. They have all agreed that a great manager is more important than ever. Salary isn’t everything, but it is still important. They don’t just want a work/life balance, they DEMAND it! And above all a sense of purpose takes priority over everything.

But, as well as all of these facts, there are also 6 myths about employing Millennials that simply must die out – According to Caroline Beaton:

That They Cannot Live Without Their Parents

That They’re Un-Employed

That They’re Lazy

That They Won’t Marry

That They’re ‘The Most Entrepreneurial Generation Ever’

That They All Want To Work-From-Home

On recommendation I watched Simon Sinek’s ‘Millennials in the workplace’ which outlined 4 key characteristics of Millennials in his eyes. He says its down to parenting, technology, impatience and environment. “Too many of them grew up subject to failed parenting strategies whereby they were told things like they were special, that you can have anything you want simply because you want it. Parents would complain and then their child got special treatment – not because they earned it mind you. Other children got medals of participation even if they came last – which taught them the wrong message that even if you don’t do very well, you still get rewarded. In terms of parenting he reminds us that “we are who we are because of the environment in which we grew up in, and although this does not excuse us, it does allow us to have empathy for one another”.

Even though he was quick to highlight all the bad attributes such as “they’re tough to manage” , “they’re known as being entitled, narcissistic, self-interested, un-focused and lazy” he also stated that they “want to work in a place with purpose, and they long to make a lasting impact there”. This however may not be as easy as it seems, especially in their eyes. Sinek says that Corporate businesses care more about the numbers than they do about the kids (junior employees of the Millennial era). Their more interested in the short-term gain rather than the long-term life of these employees. Year over lifetime. A lack of good leadership in today’s society is making these juniors feel inadequate, but it’s not their fault, they were just dealt a bad hand. It is the company’s responsibility to get them out of this rut. To build environments in which Millennials can thrive, what we’d love to see is leaders teaching others to be leaders, by teaching them simple human skills such as listening, good communication skills and conflict resolution. Take that and encourage leaders to invest a little time in these young employees, and they will flourish. Sinek just wishes society and these Millennials parents had done a better job, because now we’re having to pick up the pieces and put them back together.

Let’s create the Help-Others Industry, not the Self-Help Industry. – Simon Sinek.


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