Power to the (young) people: working with millennials

I live with two, am responsible for educating several dozen, and spent the last two years mentoring around 20 at any one time.

So getting the best out of millennials is a subject very close to my heart.

That M-word is a strange and amorphous one – with various definitions.

But any organisation which either employs or in some other way develops people in their late teens and 20s needs to take a long, hard look at itself.

And it has to ensure that it is taking that group’s particular needs and characteristics pretty seriously.

There might be no better way of starting that process than with this cracking piece by another one of my favourite leadership gurus, Mark C Crowley.

I wouldn’t want to steal his thunder – you need to read the whole thing.  But he identifies three key characteristics of millennials: a reluctance to let work-related stress affect their lives, an expectation of constant coaching and development, and a highly-developed awareness of the alternative opportunities open to them.

In the context of the journalism industry, these are all highly instructive points.

Our newsrooms are packed with 20somethings setting out on their careers.

And in many ways it is them who are teaching older workers some valuable lessons.

They’re not prepared to burn out in the hope of some long-game career reward.

They’re not prepared to do mindless tasks that don’t tick the boxes of achievement and the warm glow of satisfaction.

They expect to be challenged to keep learning new and useful skills.

And they won’t hang around if they’re not happy.

The good news is that – treated right – this young workforce can galvanise businesses with energy, ideas and fresh perspectives.

What’s happening is that they are forcing employers to raise their game.

Which ought to be a very good thing indeed.




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