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  The Herman Trend Alert

January 7, 2009

Engaging Millennials

Recently JobFox.com conducted a poll of recruiters with predictable results---Millennials were judged to be the least effective performers of the four generations now in our workplace. A paltry 20 percent of the responders characterized them as "generally great performers". Compare this statistic to the 63 percent who said Baby Boomers (43 to 62 years old) were great performers and 58 percent who gave high marks to Gen Xers (29 to 42).

Jobfox CEO Rob McGovern believes that corporate leaders, not Millennial professionals, "need attitude adjustments". Certainly, the Millennials, sometimes called Gen Y, are the most educated and technologically savvy generation ever. Once you understand them and choose to make an effort to engage them, they are a very impressive group of workers.

According to McGovern, there are four "major motivators" for Millennials at work:The most sought-after motivator is balance. The Millennials do not embrace the value of the Boomer-created nine-to-five work week. They work best when they can set their own hours.

Second, they want to be on the leading edge. Millennials understand that technology is changing rapidly. If not updated continuously, their skills promptly become obsolete. "They have seen their parents and neighbors downsized and right-sized out of jobs." Staying marketable is justifiably very important to them. Even though in a recent JWT survey, 60 percent of Millennials agreed that "an employee owes loyalty to their employer ",companies that do not provide new learning experiences will see this generation seeking job opportunities elsewhere.

Third, they do not want to be treated "as junior anything". Millennials want to begin contributing right away. Companies must do a better job of helping younger workers see how their work is vital and how that work relates to the bottom line of the company."

Finally, Millennials are looking for stability---especially now. Gen Y workers can be loyal team players as long as they can balance work and life goals, gain new learning opportunities, and feel like they are supporting company goals. The employers that will be the most successful over the next two decades will be the ones that can best inspire and engage this challenging generation.


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