Leadership Blog

Millennial’s: Who Are This New Generation

Thursday, December 09, 2010

With over 90 million millennial’s (born between 1980 – 2000) joining the workforce; understanding how to manage this population is a growing niche and focus as they work and act differently than their older peers.  I recently attended a presentation by Julie LaCroix on this topic and want to share some of her insights.

In order to understand how to manage millennial’s; it is important to understand how and why they are different.  Millennials have been raised by a generation of parents who tried to give their kids what they needed and asked for. This upbringing reinforced the “ask for it and you will get it” attitude. Video game playing taught this group to “breakthrough” each level to get to the top of a game. This is why in business they ask for promotions, raises and managerial responsibility before they are ready or have earned it. This is where some the sense of entitlement comes from. This generation of workers received an award just for participation in a sporting event or other activity and this consistent reinforcement that “showing up” equals “success” proves to be a challenge for many managers.

The first challenge comes in the form of communication.  With Facebook, text messaging and IM’ing as the preferred platforms of choice, their communication is short, real time and not face to face dialogue.  Real communication using people skills, collaboration, listening skills, reading micro expressions, body language, neuro-linguistic programming  and conflict resolution skills are poor and will need a great deal of development on the part of the leadership team.

The second challenge will be resetting the perceptions of this generation to appreciate and develop their capabilities to their fullest potential.  This group is good at multi-tasking but is a mile wide and an inch deep on a number of topics.





Workplace Actions


Technology natives

Give them tools to be efficient


Want to work with you, not for you

Provide opportunities to learn


Need feedback

Frequent reviews

Excessive guidance

Lack autonomy

Create work teams/pairs

Lack work ethic

Seeks balance

Lattice/zig zag careers

Job hoppers


Align work with motivations

Informal, non traditional

Seeks fun

Flexible, mobile jobs



Provide to do lists & priorities

                                                                                                                                                By Julie LaCroix

Millennials also want to be entrepreneurial and do their own thing. They typically don’t want to work for a boss.  They think they should work with their boss as an equal. Like the hippies in the 1960’s, this new generation of workers may seem unrealistic and idealistic, but I think in select industries there may have to be some compromise on both sides for this to work. This generation of young workers wants their own hours (some are morning people, most are night people), bring their dogs to work, play their iPod all day while working, and dress very casually.

A third challenge with this group is their outside team of advisors.  Millennials were raised by “helicopter parents” who stay involved with their kids in their 20’s and request to be part of job interviews, salary reviews, and job offers discussions. These parents “hover” and stay as an active parent in millennial’s lives and add a twist to managing goals and objectives.  This advisement team is close at hand as many of the Millennial’s also known as the “boomerang generation” have returned home after leaving the nest for college.

In the next blog post we will address how to manage or lead millennials.

Scroll to Top