Millennials In Our Midst

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FountainBlue’s June 8 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Millennials in Our Midst!, featuring:
Facilitator Cathy Light, Assessment Leaders and Business Builders
Panelist Bella D’mar Shimun, HR Business Partner, eBay
Panelist Stefi Ganesan, Program Manager, Engineering Talent and I&D, Cisco
Panelist Nupur Srivastava, Product Manager, Cisco Telepresence, Health Solutions, Cisco Systems
Panelist Vidya Venkatesh, Technical Training Specialist, Life Technologies
Panelist Erica Wright, Vice President of Human Resources, Agilent Technologies
Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to our gracious hosts at Cisco, and to our food sponsors at Assessment Leaders. Below are notes from the conversation.
Our panelists represented both millennials and those who work with millennials in their organizations, corporate leaders from high tech and life science sectors, passionate leaders new to the workforce, and those who have been around a decade or two, making an impact within their organization. They spoke eloquently about common traits about millennials.
Born roughly between 1980 and 2000, millennials are a generation of young workers making an ever-increasing impact on the workforce. In general, they have doting, affirming, technology-savvy parents who have fostered a can-do, techno-philic mindset in their kids, and a broader, change-the-world perspective overall. They are a generation who grew up as part of a team, with paid coaches throughout much of their childhood. They crave continual feedback, respect goals, focus on self-improvement, and seek a manager who would help them manage their own growth in a customized manner.
Millennials want their company to do something they value, and respect companies who are socially responsible, technologically connected, innovative, evolving, fun and doing something to make the world a better place. They proactively manage their career and seek continual feedback. They seek work that makes a difference. In addition, they are inclined to leverage technology for the greater good, and are likely to connect with each other through technology and social media. They already are, and will continue to be the most wired generations – using tools such as Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn to connect with each other, and to forever change not only how they interact with each other, but how every else can also interact with each other.
Our panel also cautioned us about not stereotyping millennials, and not focusing too much emphasis on any one demographic (or cultural or gender or other) group, with best practices reaching out to one group being equally applicable to other groups. In general, some best practices to help recruit, retain and develop millennials (and other groups) include the following:
• Filter information through the eyes of the group you are serving, whether they are millennials or other groups. Make your recruitment, retention and development plans with their needs and interests in mind.
• For this independent, high-achieving, creative group, tell them what you will have them do, not how they should go about doing it. Give them the tools to help them accomplish a task and remove obstacles barring their progress.
• Allow and encourage millennials to connect with each other and other groups within your organization. You will find that they are proactive and want to connect with others and build relationships at work, which would also benefit the corporate culture.
• Be tolerant about how millennials and other groups may express themselves, as in body piercings, but also be practical about how they are presented to others. For example, millennials in sales selling SaaS solutions might want to cover up their body piercings and tattoos prior to selling to a more conservative prospect.
• Make a distinction between entitlement, those who think that they deserve advancement, and commitment, those who want to know what it takes to advance and make the effort to do so.
• Reach out to high schools, youth programs and universities to appeal to this group, and message your corporate culture in a way that is appealing to this group.
Resources:
• The National Society of High School Scholars’ (NSHSS): 2012 Millennial Career Survey Results http://www.nshss.org/docs/reports/nshsscareer2012.pdf
• Marketing Daily: Gen Y Dissected: Six Types of Millennials, Sarah Mahoney, April 16, 2012 http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/172435/gen-y-dissected-six-types-of-millennials.html?print
• Diversity Executive: 5 Ways to Teach Your Millennials to Lead, 4/9/12, Jan Ferri-Reed, http://diversity-executive.com/articles/view/5-ways-to-teach-your-millennials-to-lead

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