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Susan M. Heathfield

Make the Most of Your Millennials

By February 9, 2013

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In your workplace, do employees lump all workers from particular generations into the same set of characteristics, needs, attitudes, and practices? If so, this is bad practice.

The current generations include Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials, and the next generation is on the way.

As with any effort to lump like people together for easy description and similar treatment, it doesn't work. That's why I enjoyed reading Bill Sheridan's comments about millennials at the CPA Success Blog.

On the Human Resources Forum, an employer has posted a question about young employees. He frequently employs people right out of school. In his shop, it takes six months for a new employee to learn enough to really contribute.

He is finding that no sooner does he invest these months in training, then these young employees leave for a better opportunity. The millennial employees he is discussing do have certain characteristics that make managing millennial employees a challenge, but there are also many myths about millennial employees that are widely believed.

In my company, we hire a number of young people right out of computer science school. Some of them do bring the sense of entitlement that is discussed in the Forum thread, but they also bring characteristics that are admirable. You can make the most of your millennials when you take advantage of their strengths.

Despite the label, millennials, people are fundamentally individuals and honoring their diversity is the way to go. Even when similarities exist, it is not okay to assume that everyone in any classification or generation, shares the same similarity.

Sometimes, I emphasize similarities as in Just Like Me: Search for Similarities and in Managing Millennials. But, for the most part, I emphasize the concept of situational leadership. Remember that? Anyone?

Take a look, too, at my growing set of resources about diversity and discrimination.

Image Copyright Jack Hollingsworth / Getty Images

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