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Susan M. Heathfield

Make the Most of Your Millennials

By May 6, 2013

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Having a company with many young employees means that an employee or an employee's spouse is almost always pregnant. Indeed, there are usually multiple babies on their way.

We have even hired obviously pregnant applicants, knowing that the new employee would soon take time off for the birth. I think of all of these babies as the next generation talent pool. Occasionally, though, upon completion of the 12 week FMLA leave time, a valued employee decides that work is not a current option and that staying home with the baby is most important.

We support whatever choices our employees make, although we'd like to be in on the decision as soon as possible for planning and work coverage. Lifestyle choices are important to millennial employees (also called Gen Y) in your company. Even many gen-X employees seek flexibility that the Baby Boomer generation never dreamed of demanding.

Here are tips for managing these valued millennial employees and some thoughts about not putting millennial employees in a one-size-fits-all box. Myths abound about millennial employees; don't get sidetracked and miss the best the millennials have to offer in your workplace. It's a lot.

In fact, I ran across a great example of millennial employees successfully contributing to a workplace. Donna Fenn, a respected small business guru, posted on Facebook that the CEO of Tasty Catering in Chicago helped his business grow by handing the reins to millennial employees.

Interesting to me, too, is the company's habit of hiring the best possible employees they can find as interns during high school. Many stay through college and on into their career. Worth your time to hear more, too, about balancing generations in a workplace.

In my company, we hire millennials as interns and offer jobs to the best contributors. It's a real time opportunity to try before you buy, so to say. But, working with Gen Y, as my new article explains, is both a challenge and a joy.

Image Copyright Pando Hall / Getty Images

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