Millennials In Our Midst

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FountainBlue’s June 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Millennials in Our Midst. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have wise and inspiring panelists representing a range of roles and functions, education and perspective, and companies and generations. Please join us in thanking our panelists for so candidly sharing their thoughts and perspectives on how to work with millennials in producing win-win, measurable results, engaging the full workforce.

Millennials will represent a progressively larger percentage of the workforce, a workforce which still includes four different generations with different backgrounds and perspectives. Considering the needs of each worker and focusing on strategically recruiting, retaining and developing them, while building bridges between them will be an ongoing challenge of forward-thinking leaders like those on our panel.

Born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials grew up surrounded by technology, the internet, social media. They are generally competitive, yet collaborative, passionate, yet easily distracted and disengaged, career-minded yet focused on making a difference, driven yet fun-loving, always-reaching for instant gratification, while also insisting on work-life balance.

Millennials are great at creative problem solving, and have the confidence to see things through, despite obstacles. Their can-do attitude, collaborative style, irreverence for titles of authority and fearless approach to problem-solving make them dynamic, energetic staff members who can add energy and diversity to a team, when managed well, and discord and hard feelings and fractionism if managed badly.

It is a challenge for corporate leaders recruit, retain and develop them. Some successful strategies include: 1) creating a culture that’s energetic and exciting, and work that is meaningful, 2) creating challenging opportunities for advancement and growth, while making a difference, 3) offering the ability to work flexible hours and work from home, to accommodate the interests and travel schedules of millennials, 4) providing opportunities for connections to leaders at all levels, and mentorship and growth opportunities that would stretch them, and 5) promoting and supporting the short-term advancement and growth of millennials. With these generalities in mind, remember that every company and every individual is different and as managers and leaders who factor in the needs and opportunities of individual team members will most likely succeed.

Below is advice offered by our panel on how to best manage and work with millennials:

  • Although stereotypes and understanding classes of people help in some measures, stop over-generalizing who millennials or any other class of people are. Treat everyone as individuals who have the same focus – being successful and happy, and help each one get from here to there. Help each person focus on delivering on their short-term goals while keeping an eye on their long-term goals.
  • Explain how each role and function contributes to the bigger picture, the larger goal for the team and company and industry.
  • Teach them the value of staying humble, and model the way.
  • Encourage them to accept leadership opportunities for community groups and causes for which they feel passionate.

Below is advice for leaders from all generations:

  • Make the time to build relationships at all levels, across both genders, across all generations, inside and outside of work.
  • People who give 110% effort in all assignments and produce measurable results stand out in a good way over those who give half-hearted efforts. They will be the ones who will be given progressively more responsible and interesting roles and tasks.
  • Be proactive and take initiative, but also be sensitive of how others might interpret it if you are overly eager and enthusiastic.
  • Be eager to contribute, yet patient about getting the opportunity to do so in a way that would stretch you and best contribute.
  • In communicating your brand and considering social media, use your best judgment and put your best foot forward. In addition, focus on what you want, not comparing yourself necessarily with others.
  • Take the time to know yourself and your strengths and aspirations. Use the magic of who you are to communicate your value-add and reach for those stretch opportunities that would help you grow.
  • Build on your transferable skills which can be taken into many different roles, functions, companies and industries, including: Communicating, Problem-Solving, Customer Service, Presentation, Skills, Management, etc.,
  • Know your long-term goal, but also accept that there will be a circuitous path to get there.

In the end, the millennials will affect the way we work and live, just now reaching 50% of he workforce. The workforce will be forever changed – it will be more informal, more collaborative, more innovative and creative, with fewer organizational layers. How will these changes impact YOU?

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Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s June 12 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Millennials in Our Midst and our gracious hosts at Juniper.

Facilitator Pat Cross, Cross Apps
Panelist Gina Diaz, Director, License Management Services – Enterprise Accounts, Oracle Corporation
Panelist Camila Franco, Manager Product Management, StubHub
Panelist Marjorie Glover, Regional Director, Inside Sales Americas, Dell
Panelist Van B. Nguyen, Program ​Manager – University Talent Program, Juniper Networks
Panelist Christine Nguyen Vaeth, Global Services Marketing, Workday

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