Confessions of a Millennial: 3 Talent Development Tips from Gen Y

Confessionals of a Millennial: 3 Talent Development Tips from Gen Y

Fact: The number of millennials entering the workforce is on the rise. Who better to weigh in on talent development for that particular generation, than a millennial? The following is a confession from a member of Gen Y.

We’ve all read the lists; the 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials, The Best Jobs for Millennials, 5 Workplace Stereotypes about Millennials; the list goes on and on. It’s easy to get lost in all of the millennial stereotypes floating around.

If you’re a millennial (born between early 1980s and early 2000s), you’ve likely witnessed your share of chatter (good or bad) regarding our generation. Management often references traits they’ve seen on the aforementioned lists in an attempt to show that they understand who we are and what we want.

We’re often mislabeled and categorized by these lists, when in fact, we are hard workers and are working toward the same goals as the rest of our colleagues – our workstyles are just different.

As I bare my confessions, let me also offer some advice on how you can better manage and develop employees that hail from Gen Y.

Common Stereotype: We’re not hard workers and we want a bevy of special privileges (flex work schedule, free lunches, gym memberships, etc.)

Confession #1. It’s not considered work when we are passionate about it.

All perks aside, when our passion and our work meet, we will extend ourselves over and beyond the norm. We pour our hearts and souls into our work to ensure it is to the utmost perfection. When we are passionate about our work, the work day will extend beyond the typical 8am-5pm. In these moments, we still want to be recognized and encouraged to do the work we are most passionate about. When leaders are able to establish performance goals that align to our personal and professional interests, the organization will reap the benefits of an engaged employee willing to stop at nothing to achieve the extraordinary.

Common Stereotype: Millennials are job hoppers.

Confession #2. We value our knowledge and our professional experience.

Often mistaken for job hopping, our resumes, just like every other generation’s, reflect our wealth of experience in varying industries. We place value on growing our knowledge and being lifelong learners. We want to know everything about our work, our industry and most importantly how we fit into the bigger picture. Leaders should spend time with their millennials to convey how their specific role directly impacts the organization’s strategy. Furthermore, as the organization’s strategy evolves, so should the millennial’s role; it is here where the leader and millennial can begin to map out what skills and talents are needed. As the millennial continues to develop in their evolving role, the knowledge and professional experience continues to grow, keeping the millennial engaged in their work.

Common Stereotype: Millennials are entitled and don’t want to pay their dues.

Confession #3. We recognize that we won’t become the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) overnight; but we want a career path that will enable us to get there one day.

We all have dreams of being the next CEO of an organization; but we want to ensure we are well developed and well educated for the role. We respect the leaders that have come before us; in fact, it is those great leaders that inspired us to want to be CEO. We often seek career mentors to help guide us in our careers and an outlined career path. Pairing us with a career mentor, or a leader, to formalize a plan for career advancement will keep us engaged, focused on career goals and enabled to develop leadership skills.

Leaders have an opportunity to engage, develop, guide and educate the millennial generation. When a millennial’s work and passion meet, leaders will recognize the excellence. Leaders have an opportunity to further that excellence by focusing on evolving the millennial’s role, focusing on what talents they need to execute the organization’s strategy. Lastly, leaders can help develop millennials through mentoring relationships where formalized career advancement plans are created. Through these confessions, I hope I have provided insight into our often categorized generation and inspired you to develop your millennials to be the next CEO.

Want to learn more about talent development?

Download, Going beyond performance review: Best practices for Employee Development, which will help you understand the changes surrounding performance and goals in today’s workforce, especially with the induction of millennials, and also highlights the SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals solution.

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