Are We Making More Out of the Millennial Movement than We Should?

I’ve noticed a great deal of coverage on Millennials over the last several years.  A key theme is our business culture and organizational models must somehow be modified to accommodate the emerging notions and behaviors of a growing population of employee. The Millennial work force is growing steadily – many of the older segment of this group – were in elementary school just as President Bill Clinton took office (the first time).
In the association world and with any other business for that matter, success comes down to a few simple truths: good customer service, effective engagement, and drive. Essentially, if your organization is sound, members will join your association or buy your products and services no matter the age of your staff. I have found this to be true for the last twenty five years, even when these millennials were in diapers.

Heck, I’m feeling left out of the conversation.  Are the “50-ish” folks relevant any longer?  I think so.  Big Time.

Those of us who began our careers in the 80s – attended the school of hard knocks and have a broader knowledge base and a skill set that is more instinctive – one developed through solid work and honed for years before the internet, smart phone, and social media came on the scene. This is our time – those of us in our “middle” years – to assert ourselves as the leaders in the business world and serve to mentor these young people.

Studies on Millennials are abundant. Thoroughly tech-savvy, Millennials have been described as confident and tolerant, but have also been identified as possessing a sense of entitlement and narcissism as compared to preceding generations. Believe me – nothing is going to be handed over to you – you have to earn it; and, I’ve found a dose of humility goes a long way in business.  This applies to the grey beard or the hip and connected.

In light of the research on this new work force, I can only say – making accommodations and coddling Millennials won’t help anyone in the long run. Not every business problem can be solved with an App or a Google search or simply moving on to the next great gig. Millennials need to make mistakes; lots of them. It’s essential for learning and growing as a professional – coming of age, in a sense, in the real world. Those of us who’ve been around a while are here to lend an ear.

We’ve been there before.