The Millennial Perspective on Employee Development

Posted by Daniel Giraldo on Sep 8, 2017 3:30:00 PM
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The millennial generation has been given a bad rap over the years. They’ve been labeled as lazy, entitled, spoiled, soft—in worst cases, all the above.

But when it comes to Millennials in the workforce, these brandings are inaccurate statements and overgeneralizations of younger, hardworking employees.

Yes, one of the problems employers underscore when hiring Millennials is their high turnover rates. But as Millennial Workplace Expert Lindsey Pollak states in a blog post from 2016, “job hopping is an ‘everyone’ thing, not a millennial thing.” In fact, her research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics quotes “three million Americans quit their job in December 2015,” highlighting that all generations are part of the search for “greener grass.

Contrary to common belief; however, Millennial retention can be a reality—and it can be accomplished in similar ways as employers have traditionally retained employees in the past. Like their cross-generational counterparts, Millennials need to see and feel growth as a pathway to the future. In this way, employee development matters. This generation, like all that have come before it, will stay where they feel valued. 

Here are 3 reasons why Millennials want employee development.

1. We crave Mentorship

Millennials want someone to show them the ropes and teach them how to accomplish what it is they want to do. Last year, Forbes magazine reported that "mentorship is key to career success for young professionals." Just like their predecessors, they want someone to invest in them, and to tap into their potential. As author Venkatesh Rao states in a recent blog post, “human beings are odd assets: they acquire value the moment somebody believes in them.” From an “othering” perspective, it’s easy to forget that out-groups function (and fear) in the same ways as "we" do. Millennials have the rest of their lives ahead of them, and that can be intimidating. A mentor is someone they can go to for advice along the way.

 2. We want to learn something new

In an increasingly globalized world, Millennials are constantly having to expand their own. And with social media as their playground, this generation knows no bounds. They crave new information and want to discover new ways of doing things. This can be frustrating when employers feel as though Millennials are “reinventing the wheel”, but providing employee development and cross training (with an added layer of mentorship) satiates this craving for creativity and redirects energy to tasks that align with your goals.

 3. We want success

Everyone wants to feel accomplished, and this goes for the younger employees, too. They might not show it in ways other generations have, but they grew up in a slightly different world. Success no longer means graduating from college, landing a "nine-to-five," and settling down with a family. It can also be defined as getting discovered on social media, traveling the world (just because), owning a start-up, or being the next Mark Zuckerberg. As employers, success is defined within the confines of the organization, but for Millennials it also means including alternate measures from beyond its walls.

Simply put, this generation isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Invest in it and it will invest in you.

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Topics: leadership, employee development, millennial development, multigenerational management, management development training