Millennials In Our Midst

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FountainBlue’s When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series was on the topic of Millennials In Our Midst. Below are notes from the conversation.

Whether they are Millennials themselves, or nearly so, or interact with Millennials at home or at work or recruit, manage, educate and train them, our esteemed panelists generously shared their viewpoints, experience and perspectives around what it’s like to work with Millennials, and advice on how to best recruit, train and motivate them.
Our panel described Millennials as people born between 1981 and 2000 who are technophilic, having grown up around computers, inquisitive and connected, responsible and hardworking, and interested in doing the right thing and supporting a social cause. They can be very direct with their questioning, sometimes offending the people they question, but their intention is to better understand the reasoning behind a request, not to question authority necessarily.
Below is advice from our panelists about how to better recruit, train, motivate and retain Millennials, who will become an increasingly critical part of the workforce:
• Advice for Better Recruiting and Retaining Millennials:
o Work with universities to set up internship programs and hiring and retaining those interns once they graduate.
o Fund a professor and his/her projects so that your company name gets recognized and valued and new-grads might be more open to working for your company.
o Make them feel important, check in with them in a way they feel comfortable with.
o Help them navigate the little stuff – like health benefits and stock options. Don’t assume that they will get help elsewhere or that they can figure it out themselves with forms.
• Advice for working with Millennials:
o Use the communication style they are most comfortable with – text rather than e-mail for example.
o Mentor them and explain how their inquisitiveness may be coming across and work with them behind the scenes to find answers to their questions, without offending someone, particularly someone with great influence.
o Help them understand how people from other countries see, work and act and teach them how to nurture successful cross-cultural collaborations focused on delivering a successful work product.
o Help them manage their energy so that they are engaged without being overwhelmingly energized.
o Leverage both their hard-working ethics and their passion to deliver quality results for your team.
o Help them understand any sense of entitlement they feel, and show them the path to success, in the direction they seek.
o Leverage their initiative and can-do, collaborative attitude and give them big projects, without telling them *how* it should be done.
o Help them see their work as impactful, not just something you do to make money.
o Help them proactively create a network of people who would support them with their personal and professional growth.
o Help them leverage technology to bridge communication gaps between generations.
• Advice for Millennials:
o Leverage your energy in constructive ways and work with people, teams and companies that can help you channel your energy in the direction of value to you.
o Be inquisitive and seek answers, but be strategic about who you ask direct questions of and when the questions are asked to minimize the likelihood that you would offend someone.
o Walk a mile in the shoes of someone from another culture, for their reality is much different than yours.
o Your first work experience may be overwhelming as you work at various levels with as many as four generations. Embrace what’s wonderful about your own generation, and be open to accepting what’s great about other generations.

The bottom line is that this Millennial generation wants to leverage technology to connect and empower and make a positive impact on the world. They are the leaders of our future and will continue to shape our workforce as their representation rises and companies, teams and people who can help them succeed will be better positioned for success.

We would like to thank our hosts at EMC for graciously supporting FountainBlue’s When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series, on the topic of Millennials In Our Midst. Thank you also to this month’s speakers:
Facilitator Pat Cross, Consultant, Trainer, and Co-Founder of CrossApps.net
Panelist Marla Britt, Process Engineering SSG/FEP/Anneals, Applied Materials
Panelist Nehal Mehta, Senior Leader, Quality Assurance, NetApp
Panelist Kristin E. Nelson, Inside Sales Manager, Americas Renewals, EMC Corporation
Panelist Josie Zimmermann, Global Marketing Team, Juniper Networks

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