Top 3 Mistakes Organizations Make When Developing Their Millennial Talents


Millennials care deeply about experiencing growth, but that’s not all they care about.

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As the largest generation in the workforce, millennials and their characteristics are the focal points of many reports and statistics. Employers and HR hope to find the right pieces among that research to solve the puzzle of what their millennial employees need. But much of this research is based on incorrect assumptions about millennials and their work habits.

Yes, as Gallup notes, “Millennials care deeply about their development when looking for jobs and — naturally — in their current roles.” But that’s not all millennials care about. Here are the top three mistakes organizations make when managing and developing their millennial employees and what they can do instead.

Related: What You Don’t Know (But Should) About Managing Millennials
Related: Tips to Increase Your Team’s Productivity
Related: 3 Ways Google Creates a High-Performance Culture

1. Poor alignment between the workflow and their ability to focus

Each generation has its distinctive traits, but millennials can’t seem to avoid all the negative connotations that follow them: They are flaky, entitled, selfish and change jobs too often. Just like their younger colleagues in Generation Z, they have a veil of stereotypes around them that often affects how they are treated at work. That’s not all they share: Both generations, generally speaking, have shorter attentions spans than the generations before them because they grew up in a digital age. Since their childhoods, these young employees have experienced overstimulation. This affects their work in that they are more selective about what they will give their attention to.

If you are not noticing progress in the development and productivity of your millennial hires, ask yourself whether you are conveying your point in the right way. Do the workflow and your expectations align with their limited focus? Consider making their onboarding and regular training bite-size. Make it engaging, visually attractive and straightforward.

2. No room for engagement and collaboration

Whether you enjoy social media and constant connectivity or not, Gen Z and millennials are digital natives. They barely remember a time when they had to dig to find information or a contact. They have always had everything on demand, and they expect their employers to keep up with modern tools and technologies. They are very used to using tech and social media to collaborate and share information.

Examine your organization and its workplace. Do you use technology to keep everyone in the loop and involved? Are you using all the tools you can to keep your younger colleagues engaged? Use technology to show them that you care about their needs, desires and values.

3. The position is not a match for your millennial

Employers are familiar with the fact that millennials and Gen Z value growth, opportunities and new experiences that will enrich their knowledge and challenge their minds. They didn’t get a reputation for job-hopping for no reason. 

If your millennial employee is hinting at leaving, analyze whether they are being challenged appropriately. Speak with the employee to find out whether the tasks the job requires are a good fit with them. In many cases, the position doesn’t quite match up with their expectations. Determine their strengths and weaknesses and go from there. For example, if the employee is strong in leadership, you might want to put them on a managerial track. But you must match the position to the person if you want to keep them.

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