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VALUE+, EMPLOYEES AS VALUERS. A second in Dr. Blair's series on ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE. Here she looks at adding value through a corporations major asset - its employees.

TOPIC: Millennials Revisited

Millennials Revisited 1 year 3 weeks ago #8

  • Billie
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At Change Strategists, Inc., after we have completed the strategy building systems for our clients' multinational corporations, we spend a good amount of time in sorting out difficulties that are the result of Millennials in the workforce. I don't dwell on this fact, as a normal thing, unless journalists call to solicit information about "Millennials in the Workforce." About 3 years ago, it was a topic of high interest because much of generational differences research had just begun to be released by researchers focused on the topic. By this time, interest in Millennials has gone the way of much of the popular press concentrations - given way for other "sensations." However, a recent incident brings the topic back to mind in its full glory. I was running errands last weekend and stopped by our local Sprouts market to ask about getting an organic turkey to prepare for Easter Sunday. The two Millennials (behind the meat counter) that I talked with told me forcefully, "You don't have turkey for EASTER; only for Christmas!" At that point, I left the store - what more was there to say? However, not to be deterred in my quest to find a turkey for a family who LOVES turkey (at any time of year), I checked with friends and was told that the "meat guys at the other Sprouts are much more accommodating - try them." Which I did - yesterday - again out doing errands for the weekend. And, much to my surprise, I didn't even have to check with the meat guys - there was a BIN of turkeys for sale. Clearly they hadn't gotten the memo from their Millennial counterparts at the other store! Which brings me to the point of Millennials and their often bizarre behaviors. Who, other than someone of the Millennial generation, would tell a customer what she was to eat, when. Totally amazing! Those with whom I have shared the story, look at me open-mouthed. Granted these people tend to be of the Gen-X or Boomer Generations, showing once again that there is indeed a gap between the generations. What we have discovered from our long work in this area is that, typically, Millennials come without a buffer switch - there has been nothing built into their make-up that allows them to distinguish between socially/culturally appropriate behaviors and the converse, inappropriate behaviors and actions. To Millennials, the only thing that typically is of importance, is what they think and feel, at any given moment. They've been treated throughout their lives -by their parents and others- (as a professional friend puts it) "as though they are the last popsicle in the desert." And, as their schooling has consisted of strong praise and an absence of commentary on what could be done better, they have come to believe themselves to be the absolute authority on . . .well, just about anything! As witness, my directions about what to serve for Easter Dinner. The question always arises: So, what do we DO about it? In the case of Millennials in the workplace, we spend a great deal of time giving them feedback - daily when at all possible - so that they can rebuild those missing pieces in their psyche. The Millennials are somewhat akin to "only children" who often lack a full repertoire of social skills - Millennials have the same lack, but for slightly different reasons. "Only children" (OCs) tend to lack the skills because they've been treated as adults by their parents, included in social events and other family matters as an equal to the adults. Consequently, OCs tend to be deficient in dealing with their age cohort. The case of Millennials is even more far-reaching, however, as both their schools and their parents have tended to treat them differently from generations in the past. Just about the time that Millennials were beginning their schooling, the education systems decided that it was "unfair" for there to be winners and losers (although that's precisely what happens in life) - and thus schooling became a constant stroking of little egos along with the handing out of trophies for everyone - "participation trophies." So, one can begin to understand their frustration and, even, rage when they reach the workplace and there definitely are winners and losers! However, the problem will persist until the work situation places special emphasis on re-preparing the Millennial generation to face up to life's realities. This often takes a while - no behavioral change comes without effort and a sincere desire to change. And, so, my Easter wish for you, in your workplace, is that you can take the time and effort to re-train your Millennial employees - they generally are smart-enough, professionally; just not smart enough, culturally.
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Millennials Revisited 1 year 3 weeks ago #9

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I find the work ethics of this generation disturbing, as a parent of young teens, we often discuss their future, school, making good choices and hard work pays off in the end (not just monetarily). I continually bring them to work to show them real word scenarios, dealing with people, employees, managers and bills... Lots of bills. I think they see the benefits of owning a business and how much work it takes to keep it running. We are raising well rounded anti socialists.

I recently had an employee, his girlfriend was the epitome of an entitled millennial. One day we were working around a table finishing up a project when she showed up to pick him up for lunch. She proceeded to tell my wife that we had no right to keep him working past noon, and exclaiming to my employees that "you guys probably don't even get paid overtime". We asked her to leave and never come back into our office. She said, "you can not keep me out of a public building and I have EVERY RIGHT to come into your office and say anything I want!" I asked them both to leave and never come back.
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Millennials Revisited 1 year 3 weeks ago #10

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Good for you - it really is the responsibility to those from other generations to begin the arduous process of enculturation. Following my last post, I've had another encounter, in two separate incidents within the span of an hour, with two Millennials. I've been so busy responding to our Fortune 500 clients lately lately that I haven't gotten around to posting - Your stories have prompted me to add these "Millennial Tidbits" to the data base that I'm collecting. It was fairly early morning and I was running some quick errands. I was just about to transit past a local McDonald's when a car backed out in front of me, so I stopped to allow the full execution of the backing effort - at which point, the woman driving (a Millennial, of course - otherwise there would be no point to this story!) stopped mid-way through her backing (blocking both lanes of traffic (this is a side street in a shopping center, but, still . . .) and proceeded to start eating the food she had acquired in McDonald's - at which point, I used my horn to prompt her to have her meal somewhere other than in the middle of traffic. This example is so "typically Millennial" - Stop when you're hungry, no matter where - It's one's privilege, after all. Shortly thereafter (same trip, still running errands), I was in another shopping center, again proceeding along the main traffic artery of that center when another Millennial woman, dressed in long grey raincoat and head covering, walked through some bushes and directly in front of my vehicle - needless to say, I screeched to a halt just in time to avoid hitting her, throwing things that I had recently purchased around helter-skelter in the car. Again, a Millennial exercising the "privilege" of walking wherever, whenever - Cars are to stop for them, after all. (There was no crosswalk in this area, by the way - the incident occurred in the middle of a block.) Needless to say, this woman, too, received a blast of the horn. I have to admit that I was very grateful to return home, even with disshevelled purchases! It could easily have been otherwise. Which, of course, puts into focus the lack of responsibility-taking from a large majority of Millennials - had I hit either of these women with my vehicle, regardless of the mitigating circumstances, it would have been my fault! Ah, well - we can only hope that enough of them live long enough to become more fully-functioning citizens ;)
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Millennials Revisited 1 year 2 weeks ago #32

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It just does not seem that long ago that people used to step lively when crossing traffic, these days it seems like they take pride in holding people up by walking as slow as possible.
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Millennials Revisited 1 year 2 weeks ago #33

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You've noticed that, as well! Perhaps a sign of the times - we're going on 8 yeas of a near-zero growth economy. (And, yes, I know that the "recession" has been declared over for 6+ years - but I look at it the way my economist friends in Washington, DC do (not those who work for the Federal Gov't, of course!) Presently, in our society, many folks have very little to do. Over to others in the readership - are folks slower crossing in traffic where you live, or, is it just our imaginations?
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Millennials Revisited 1 year 2 weeks ago #36

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Recession, your exactly right. In my opinion, union supported by the federal or local government are too strong, Our taxes and fees go up the more they fight for higher pay and benefits. It's a form of socialism and the unions take away the need to be productive and competitive. Look at our union based systems... Education, police, fire, health, postal, automotive... These are highly supported associations with benefits and pensions that are difficult to support. Unions breed "slow walking, unhappy, mediocre employees who feel they deserve so much more than", the innovative, productive & competitive people and businesses that are taxed and fee'd into their individual recessions.

I expect most of these slothy millennials were raised by unionized parents who taught them not to move too fast, Complain as often as possible about your circumstance, and most obvious... Create delays for all NON Union socialists to make them less productive.
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