Time to Thrive: Empowering Millennials in the Workforce

Every day there are countless articles and studies casting aspersions on millennials. This cohort of young adults has been blamed for the declining viability of chain restaurantsgymsdiamonds, and even the National Football League.

Millennials are frequently stereotyped as selfish, entitled, and disloyal to their organizations. For this reason, HR specialists, leadership, and managers alike may find it difficult to cater to this growing segment of the global workforce.

Let’s face it, Millennials have been in the workforce for over a decade now—many of them are now in the prime of their careers. Though I may not be able to reverse prevalent generational stereotypes in a single blog post, I do want to offer a few strategies for cultivating a workplace environment in which millennials (and all generations) can thrive.

  1. Provide inclusive professional development opportunities. Millennials, like members of any other generation, want to feel that they are continually growing and advancing with their careers. Engage employees in frequent conversations about their preferred career path and collaborate on ways to achieve long- and short-term goals.
  2. Embrace potential challenges with ongoing dialogue. Diversity of preferences, values, and experiences can create real workplace challenges. These challenges should not be ignored, and can lead to valuable, creative opportunities. Engaging in meaningful conversations with employees about difficult situations shows respect for individual differences and promotes a workplace culture where all perspectives are valued.
  3. Emphasize a common purpose. Sometimes when differences consume our mental energy, it is helpful to appeal to common goals and values. Focusing on the collective mission and vision for your team, department, or organization highlights the ties that bind us together, rather than inherent differences.

It is important to remember that generational affiliation is just one element of our identities. Just as we would not want to be judged solely by our race, gender, or educational background, it is unfair to pigeon-hole a group of people based on their birth year. Asking, “What do millennials want?” only reinforces this narrative. The more poignant question for HR professionals and organizational leaders is, “How can I create an inclusive workplace environment that values and celebrates individual strengths?

Managing Beyond Generational Differences is just one of the many new topics covered in the updated Professional Government Supervisor Program. Stay tuned for more information on this cutting-edge training program, and in the meantime, check out our upcoming classes Human ResourcesTalent Development, and Workforce Development, and in Leadership and Management and Professional Skills.

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