Millennials & ManagementAt a recent Women in Consulting (WIC) meeting, I had the pleasure of hearing a presentation by Lee McEnany Caraher, author of Millennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making It Work at Work. We work in a multigenerational environment these days with Baby Boomers, ages 51-68, Gen Xers, ages 36-50, and Millennials, ages 14-35. In her presentation, Lee provided insight into the Millennial generation and how we can all work together to be more productive, successful and have that work / life balance we all desire. Here is a summary of her presentation:

Some Millennial stats:

  • Millennials are currently ages 14-35 which is broken down into three tiers:
    • Ages 28-34: started work after 9/11/01
    • Ages 22-27: many still do not have jobs
    • Ages 14-21: still in school
  • 36% of Millennials ages 18-31 still live at home and 29% of employed Millennials live at home
  • It’s the most educated generation and most diverse
  • Millennials were raised using technology – the world is flat to them

Millennials expectations for work:

  • Through playing soccer, Millennials received rewards just for showing up and bring this expectation to the workplace
  • They want a work/life balance (heard it from their parents). We live in a 24×7 world, always connected, and Millennials want flexibility and freedom. They will take off to go to yoga but then work at night.
  • They are comfortable (and prefer) working in teams, and don’t want to let the team down
  • They are adept at working in collaboration tools like Google Docs
  • They want meaningful work and want to know why things are being done a certain way. “Because we’ve always done it this way” is not the answer they want to hear.
  • They want constant dialogue with managers, consultants and peers
  • They want to work for companies that are making a difference in the community
  • They seek out mentors
  • They dress casually and bosses should let them know the proper attire especially for client meetings

The most important people to Millennials are their parents, however, “helicopter” parents are doing a disservice to their kids. They are getting involved in their college kid’s grades, and grade inflation is happening since professors are getting worn down by complaining students and their parents. Parents are showing up at job interviews or getting involved with HR if a child received a bad performance review. LinkedIn even has “bring your parent to work day.”

Advice for consultants working with Millennials:

  • Be relevant. Be known for working well with intergenerational teams. Be the one who can bridge the gap with your client. Translate for the boss and the team.
  • Bring knowledge and experience without judgment.
  • Stay current – read what they are reading like The Skimm newsletter, Buzzfeed, Instagram & Twitter
  • Dress one level up from the people you will be with
  • Communicate frequently and resolve conflicts quickly
  • Be crystal clear with deadlines – down to the day, time and time zone!

Bottom line. No matter what “generation” you fall into, treat everyone with respect, ask questions, listen to diverse opinions, communicate frequently and continue to learn and broaden your skills.