Saturday, June 26, 2010

How to deal with Millenials in the Workplace

Many companies are already getting a head start on learning to understand and take advantage of a Millenial workforce by hiring consultants or attending management seminars. Extensive research has already been done on Generation Y--they've learned about their habits, values, and interests. In this section we'll discuss what companies are doing now to (1) recruit Millenial employees, and (2) handle some of the management issues associated with Millenial employees.


As Baby Boomers retire, the numbers of people working will drastically decrease. The American Society of Training and Development says that in the next 20 years 76 million Americans will retire with only 46 million to replace them. With this downward trend, companies who want talented employees will have to work harder to find them.

Some companies have already resorted to non-traditional recruiting slogans, such as Xerox's "Express Yourself." The campaign is geared around one of Generation Y's core values--to "develop solutions and change" (Armour, 2005). Because of the campaign, Xerox has been able to recruit top talent from the Millenial pool. Other companies are using different methods like leveraging their workplace diversity. "Gen Y is one of the most diverse demographic groups —  one out of three is a minority" (Armour, 2005).

Some companies, such as Abbott Laboratories in Chicago, are going above and beyond to hook Millenial recruits by "telling them about company benefits such as flexible work schedules, telecommuting, full tuition reimbursement and an online mentoring tool" (Armour, 2005).

In the Workplace

As was stated earlier, Millenials don't make their jobs the most important part of their lives. They seek after flexible schedules and fun activities. Along with many other internet companies, has taken a new approach to the office environment. In order to break up the sometimes monotonous workdays, Zappos has included interesting games and parties. Correspondent Morley Safer from CBS spoke of Zappos' office this way: "Actual work, actually happens, despite goofy parades, snoozing in the nap room, and plenty of happy hours" (Textor, 2007).

Because of the sense of entitlement that exists in the Millenial demographic, Millenials aren't afraid to question authority and voice their opinions. Parents of Millenials have treated their children more as friends and thus Millenials dislike some traditional corporate formalities in the workplace. In order to provide better atmospheres for Millenial employees, many managers are allowing first-name correspondence. Some managers have even resorted to embarrassing activities in order to gain the trust of their subordinates. Motivational consultant Bob Nelson said, "I've worked with managers that have, if we make this goal, they'll shave their head type thing; or they'll be in the dunk tank at the summer picnic. When a senior manager's willing to do that is, it says we're all in it together" (Textor, 2007).

Growing up with no winners or losers, Millenials have difficulties with criticism--especially during performance reviews. Furthermore, Millenials need a lot of praise to keep motivated. One ad agency, Campbell Mithun, has employees complete self-appraisals before supervisors get a chance to interview employees on performance. Campbell Mithun's executive vice president of human resources, K.C. Foley said, "This way, our supervisors can give recognition and provide specific feedback to millenials, as well as have an easier time reaffirming or expanding on growth areas. There are fewer surprises this way" (Stillman, 2006).

Another management issue plaguing employers is how Millenials often change jobs because of boredom. Millenials are steroidal multitaskers. A typical Millenial may have the ability to check email, text, read the latest news, chat with a coworker, and perform the work he or she is paid to do all at the same time. Routine tasks often result in more multitasking behaviors and eventually job changes. Some companies have used stricter technology usage policies but this usually produces negative results with Millenials. One company, Ecolab, found that offering "extra-curricular" work activities for its employees helped to break up routine work. Kris Taylor, director of community and public relations at Ecolab said, "Where some may be overwhelmed to sign up for one more project on their to-do list, we found that millenials jumped at the opportunity to get involved in a special project and were more engaged and excited because they were asked to participate" (Stillman, 2006).


Armour, S. (2005, November 8). Generation Y: They've arrived at work with a new attitude. USA Today. Retreived from

Stillman, D., & Lancaster, L. (2006, June). Here Come the Millennials. Twin Cities Business. Retrieved from

Textor, K. (Producer). (2007, November 11). The "Millennials" Are Coming [ Television broadcast]. New York, NY: Central Broadcasting Service. Retreived from;contentBody

1 comment:

  1. Another interesting article. I definitely feel those tendencies as I work at my current job. It will be interesting to see how the workplace changes as more and more of the next generation take their place there.