Employers Guide: Getting the Maximum from Your Millennials : Under30CEO Employers Guide: Getting the Maximum from Your Millennials : Under30CEO
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Employers Guide: Getting the Maximum from Your Millennials

| July 18, 2013 | 14 Comments

MillenialsWhether you call them Generation Y, Millenials, the 9/11 Generation, or the Facebook Generation, they are different.  Perhaps better, perhaps worse than the cohort of young people that preceded them, they are distinctive in behavior and attitudes.  Entrepreneurs these days often find themselves dealing with this group of talented folks, as indeed all employers will.  They have been written about, and, thanks to blogging, they have written themselves in volumes.  They are stereotyped as having the attention span of a particularly scatterbrained flea, being permanently attached to some sort of device, and needing constant affirmation, just to mention a random few characterizations.  How accurate are these notions?  Are there some characteristics that might indeed apply to many of these young adults?  How can a savvy boss exploit their strengths and work around the rest?


The habit of starting every explanation or presentation with “so” is highly associated with the young, and perhaps most especially, the highly educated ones.  Who appropriated this discourse marker as the verbal equivalent of clearing one’s throat before a lengthy explanation?  We may never know for sure, but the wise employer will try to ignore the irritation of this verbal tick.  However, try to encourage young people to avoid it in presentations to older adults – it will not impress them.

What watch?

Time-keeping is now the task of the cell phone or other hand-held device.  How to deal with this?  Be conscious of it, and don’t be surprised or annoyed when your young colleagues, contractors, or freelancers reach for their phones to synchronize their times.  Consider using one of the several apps (including the free Google calendar) that allows shared scheduling.

Attention span

Is anyone surprised?  Ever since Sesame Street and its successors, media aimed at young people has jumped from one subject or shot to another faster and faster.   It sometimes seems (to a father, at least) as though Millennials can absorb only so much at once and then just stop listening.  How to respond?  Keep your explanations brief – the briefer the better.  Check back later to make sure that your message has been understood.  Follow up with a written set of expectations, just as these kids have often received all the way through school.  Think of your presentation of detail in the same way that you would construct a website; provide a teaser up front, and opportunities to drill down and get the meaty stuff afterwards.

Never leaving the nest

Don’t be surprised or judgmental if your young employee/colleague lives at home and talks with their parents daily.  In the USA at least, family planning means that more of these kids were wanted and planned for than in previous generations.  They don’t necessarily need to break away to feel like adults, especially when home is so comfy.  This can be a plus for you.  They can afford to take only a job that they really want, rather than one just to survive.

Risk averseness

This generation grew up with ubiquitous hand sanitizer; don’t expect them to take risks readily.


These folks have been doing homework, watching a movie, listening to music, messaging on social media, and checking emails all at once since they were old enough to manipulate their thumbs.  They are not likely to change just because they are working for or with you.  If you build this multi-tasking into your expectations, you will not be disappointed.   Consider apps or software that allow you to keep track the progress of a project, in case there is too much chatting and too little work that is going on.

Procrastinator’s club

This is not true of all Millennials, but many have also been mainlining caffeine since they were very young, as well.  They may be accustomed to postponing the start of a task until nearly the last moment, and then pushing themselves with the help of large doses of …  whatever supposed energy booster they prefer.   This can be disconcerting for an employer or colleague who would prefer to see a project progress during what are usually considered normal working hours. However, in a globally connected world, working at night can be a useful strategy.

Embracing diversity

For the most part, schools have done a good job of exposing kids to the idea of celebrating diversity.  As a result, you may find it easier to assemble a team that respects one another than you might have in past decades.  Exploit this to increase the diversity of your firm and reap the rewards.

Team players – yes and no

Schools have also provided training in working in groups, This means that these Millennials are able to cooperate and collaborate well.  This is very efficient whom it works.  There is also a subgroup who, like one young man of personal acquaintance, has well over a thousand Facebook friends with whom he texts regularly.  This very bright fellow, cannot, however, make even a business phone call because of paralyzing shyness.  You may be able to spot someone like this in the interview process, and acquire a tech-savvy colleague who can solve problems independently.  Just be prepared to help them develop their collaboration skills if that is what is needed.

Use these young talents with all their strengths and idiosyncrasies.  They will repay your care and efforts.

Article by David Tucker – an experienced blog writer and editor. David currently works with Helpfulpapers.com – professional writing service, which specializes in various types of content solutions. David enjoys writing and it has been so ever since he became accustomed to pen and paper.

Image Credit: www.agsalesworks.com

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Category: Entrepreneurship, Startup Advice

  • Tim Ryan

    Wow. This seems spot on. As a middle-aged dude, I’ve seen many of these nuances and was put off at first but now totally get it and have come to love working with Millennials. I’ve even noticed fellow GenXers (and one Baby Boomer) that work with a lot of GenYer’s start their sentences with “So….”. It cracks me up.

    Our smart, tech-savvy GenY summer intern is writing a series on GenY and happiness at work. Here’s her first post if you readers are interested:


    Thanks for the post David.

    Tim Ryan

  • Michael Luchies

    This is great David. The only one I am hesitant about is being risk averse. Are Millenials risk averse? I almost tend to think we are greater risk takers than our parents, but there are definitely some traits that we have inherited from their generation that trends toward staying away from risk at all costs.

  • Cara Murphy

    Mike, this is an interesting point. On one hand, I do feel like because of technology and some advancements, that I am more careful and risk adverse than my parents. But on the other hand, our generation is definitely more likely to be an entrepreneur and seek “non 9 to 5 jobs” than our parents.

  • Mike Darche

    I have to agree with you guys– the only thing I disagree with is the risk averse bit. I think the rise in technology has actually encouraged this generation to think outside of the box and try new things.

    There are now a million and one ways for kids to outlet their creativity on the web. As a result, more and more young people are finding ways to market themselves and their business ideas. I agree with Cara: I think this new entrepreneurial paradigm is steadily increasing its Millenial appeal.

  • http://helpfulpapers.com/ David Tucker

    Hey there, Michael!

    Yes, in many cases risk taking is there, but it’s still true from my subjective perspective of the people that I work with:)

    Thanks a lot for your opinion, I’m glad that you liked the article:)

    Have a great weekend!

  • http://helpfulpapers.com/ David Tucker

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks a lot for reading my article, I’m glad that you liked it.

    I read the article at your blog and I think that she’s done a great job and it’s funny how the format is pretty similar to what I’ve chose for my piece.

    Have a great weekend! :)

  • Tim Frie

    David, this is such an awesome post.

    Right after I graduated high school, I was 18 years old working in health care in a department that consisted of all 30-50 year old women. I don’t think I was intimidated, but more so went into this knowing that there would be some generation gap.

    I found myself a bit uncomfortable at times talking about my life and sharing my insight when it was SO far from what mojo was brewing up. How can I relate to a woman with two kids and financial problems? How can I contribute to such a huge system when I’m just out of high school?

    It was these millennial qualities that really allowed me to succeed. And it these doubts and uncertainties that I feel, really transformed that work environment. I decided to sit on committees, do department education, and dive deep into process improvement + performance enhancement projects.

    Although I engaged in all of these things to fix or improve something that I was personally having issues with, my co-workers began to see me as a resource despite my age and always flaunting around my youth. It actually became a running joke after a while that I was the “youngin” of the department.

    I think it’s crucial that employers provide open forum for us “youngin’s” and foster an environment that is willing to grow with us. Not for our own sake, but for the organization’s sake.

  • Pingback: Employers Guide: Getting the Maximum from Your Millennials | StupStep

  • http://helpfulpapers.com/ David Tucker

    Hey Tim,

    I’m glad that my ideas corresponded with your experiences. That’s what I always strive for – article that actually has something to do with reality.

    I’m also glad that your job is working out for you:)

  • none

    how are you doing today

  • none


  • none

    hows the kids

  • none


  • none

    the same,dead