By: Kristin Mason, Supervisor, Campaign Development, Valassis
Published Friday, Aug 25, 2017
What is a millennial? A millennial is defined as a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century, born between 1980 and 2000.1 For years, scholars have tried to neatly define millennials based on specifics habits, personality traits, and work styles and few generations have sparked more debate around identity. However, some trends among this age group have recently been validated. A 2017 U.S. Census Bureau report notes a shift in attitude among millennials on cultural identity, consumer preferences and their role in the workplace. With this in mind, it is imperative that companies identify ways to hone in on millennial talent early on, and engage this age group as the next generation of leaders.
Millennials are quickly becoming the majority of the U.S. workforce, with some estimates claiming millennials will make up 75 percent within 10 years. With the shift, many leadership positions will be inherited by millennials in the coming years. In fact we have already seen this start to occur. The New York Post writes “Already, one-fourth of millennials are managers.”2
As a millennial and a supervisor at my company, I lead a team of age-diverse associates, many eager to grow both professionally and personally at work. Leading a generationally diverse group can be challenging since there’s a tendency to feel the need to tailor one’s approach to each individual. I address this by focusing on my strengths as a millennial when leading my team – and I encourage millennial associates to do the same.
I find that the team values real time feedback and open communication, so I provide frequent updates on team priorities, company initiatives, and ways they can become further involved. Young employees are also typically eager for mentoring opportunities at work as a means of receiving feedback and career advice. I have personally benefited from identifying other leaders I admire at my company, and have solicited advice and feedback from them. I encourage others to seek out these relationships early on as a means of networking -– especially since career paths among millennials is typically fluid.
While future business leaders may have different priorities from previous generations, people still want to work at a company that will invest in their future and provide opportunity for growth. Undoubtedly the workforce will benefit from the fresh perspective of millennials and their desire to make an impact. I look forward to seeing the benefits of this over the coming years.