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The generation labeled as “lazy” by some and “brilliant” by others bring a blank experience canvas to the leadership positions they are being offered. They are not infected with negativity nor toxic leadership experiences as generations of the past have been. As a result, they tend to more positive, open-minded, and eager to learn what it takes to become a successful leader in the workplace. Even more amazing is their quick recognition of the old stereotypes that really never worked but were so readily tolerated by management of the past.
Millennials will simply walk off your job and disappear without warning. The old custom for giving notice is more rare than common and this generation prefers not to deal with the confrontation associated with a formal resignation. In fact, we call today’s young generation vapors because they disappear almost as suddenly as they appear. According to Gallup, 89% of employers believe money is the reason most people leave a job, when in reality only 12% leave for more money. This lack of understanding drives organizations to make poor decisions when addressing the growing concerns associated with high turnover. A study by Roger Herman in 2011 revealed that 75% of people quit a job because of direct supervision. That is correct, three out four people that quit your company because of a bad boss.
Why is this young generation so different? Are there factors in place that separate today’s youth from those in the past? The research reveals two subsets that make this generation different. In fact, this generation is a product of changing family dynamics as well as today’s economic reality. This generation is more a reflection of contemporary society and reflects the values we as parents utilize for decision making. Good or bad, parents must own the reality of the generation we have created.
It is interesting how truly ironic life can be when you are able to view it through the portal of wisdom. Experience is a valued old master that cannot be replicated no matter how much we try. Our need to be accepted as teenagers is a significant barrier to success as adults. As adults, we must often be different in order to achieve success. The average student, worker, singer, or athlete is rarely blessed with success by most definitions. The acceptance paradox states that the need to be accepted during one stage in life can actually prevent success in another.
Holy cow! We have another buzzword to remember. If you have not heard of beacon technology, rest assured because you most definitely will in the very near future. Think of it like this, your phone will get information based on your location and what is in proximity to your location. Wikipedia’s description contains Apple’s trademarked version called iBeacon. [iBeacon is the trademark for an indoor proximity system that Apple Inc. calls "a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence." The technology enables a smart phone or other device to perform actions when in close proximity to an iBeacon.
Trends for employee training are changing at a remarkable pace. In fact over the next five years, I predict a significantly large number of employers will place content on mediums such as YouTube for employees to access on an as needed basis for training. Imagine the benefits of this train-on-demand approach being not much different from what most of us already do most weekends or with projects around the home. We have already been conditioned to use YouTube when working on a motorcycle, refinishing a cabinet, or making many other small repairs. In the workplace, employees will access this training content as they need it on the job.
I am seeing trends that should at least cause concern for Facebook. Young people are leaving and the rest of us are skeptical. Social media is here to stay. However, what that media will look like in ten years is certainly up for debate. Millennials are opting for the short bursts of information with Instagram and Snapchat while Facebook is covered in one viral video after another. The duration of information is getting longer and our attention spans are getting shorter.
As we approach 2020 and more millennials (Gen Y) enter the workforce, organizations will require some honest and candid introspection. What are you doing that makes you different? In 2011, when the Talent Exodus book was published, the storm for generational change was on the radar, but it had not reached shore. CEOs were sitting in adirondack chairs on the beach (with little umbrellas in their drinks) and the sun was beaming. I felt like the guy running up and down the beach screaming there is a storm coming. They in turn, looked up and the sunny sky and shook me off as nothing more than an alarmist or nuisance. Today however, the outer bands of the storm are reaching shore and most are buzzing about generational change in the workplace. Baby boomers are retiring by the thousands each day and millennials are entering the workplace to fill the void. By the year 2020 almost half of every worker will be born between 1981 and 2000.
As predicted in my last book, Surviving the Talent Exodus -2011, customs and attitudes are changing faster than most people realize. Twenty years ago, most business people would never enter a corporate board room with a backpack slung over one shoulder. In fact, we took pride in the fine leather briefcase and its distinctive, audible click as we unlocked and opened it prior to an important meeting. A backpack certainly would have been a contradiction to the fine, dark suit and the serious message it was meant to convey.