A Quick Playbook for Leading Millennial Talent


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Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, now make up the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. As such, they represent a significant demographic that employers must understand and engage in order to attract and retain top talent.

Millennial talent is often misunderstood by today’s leaders. Take the example of Quinn, a driven and ambitious millennial professional who joined a well-established company. Quinn was excited to contribute her skills and ideas to the team, but quickly felt frustrated by the lack of flexibility and outdated processes. When she suggested a more efficient way of doing things, her older colleagues dismissed her ideas as “unrealistic” and “naive”. Sarah felt unheard and undervalued, and eventually left the company in search of a more progressive and inclusive workplace. This is a common scenario for many millennials in the workforce, who are often viewed as entitled or difficult to manage. But the reality is that millennials have a unique perspective and set of skills that can bring value to any organization, if given the opportunity and support to do so.

Let’s discuss some important key points on how to lead millennial talent!

Understand their values and goals

Millennials are often driven by a sense of purpose and social impact, rather than just a paycheck. According to a Deloitte study, 77% of millennials say that a sense of purpose is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer. As a leader, you should take the time to understand their values and goals, and how they align with the company’s mission.

“Millennials want work that has meaning, that makes a difference, and that contributes to the greater good. They want to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves,” says Simon Sinek, author and speaker on leadership and management.

Provide opportunities for growth and development

Millennials want to learn and grow in their careers. In fact, a Gallup study found that 87% of millennials say professional development or career growth opportunities are very important to them in a job. As a leader, you should provide opportunities for learning and development, whether it’s through training, mentorship, or job rotations.

“Millennials are looking for experiences that will challenge them, stretch them, and help them learn new skills and competencies,” says Josh Bersin, global industry analyst and founder of Bersin by Deloitte.

Embrace flexibility and work-life balance

Millennials value work-life balance and flexibility. According to a FlexJobs survey, 84% of millennials say that work-life balance is very important to them when considering a job. As a leader, you should consider offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks.

“Millennials want to work in a way that is conducive to their lifestyle. They want the freedom to work from anywhere, at any time, and on any device,” says Jacob Morgan, author and speaker on the future of work.

Provide regular feedback and recognition

Millennials want regular feedback and recognition for their work. According to a Gallup study, only 19% of millennials say they receive routine feedback, and only 17% say the feedback they do receive is meaningful. As a leader, you should provide regular feedback and recognition, whether it’s through one-on-one meetings, performance reviews, or public recognition.

“Millennials want to know how they’re doing on a regular basis, and they want to be recognized for their contributions. They thrive on positive reinforcement and feedback,” says Dan Schawbel, author and research director at Future Workplace.

Leading millennial talent requires understanding their values, providing opportunities for growth and development, embracing flexibility and work-life balance, and providing regular feedback and recognition. By following these strategies, you can engage and retain top millennial talent, and create a culture of success and innovation.

Remember, as Simon Sinek says, “Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge.”


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