EMBRACING THE MILLENIALS
I was recently at a conference and was totally surprised when the topic of our beloved Millennials and their personal habits were discussed at every break out session. I expected it at the HR break out session. And yes, I now know that they crave constant feedback and I promise to tweet feedback on performance publicly and daily. I wasn’t really surprised when it was also discussed at the marketing break out. After all, how can you effectively market if you don’t understand all your target customers and how to reach them (social media, social media and more social media)?
But when the habits of the Millennial generation was also discussed at the tax technical session, I was completely amazed. How to recruit and retain them, how they are changing the technological tools available, how they are changing the customer expectation of their tax CPA and on and on.
After having sat through those sessions, I realized that I probably shouldn’t have been so amazed. The number might have been slightly different depending on the break out session, but what was consistent is that Millennials either are already, or will very shortly, comprise more than half of our work force and our marketplace. Those numbers are why Millennials were a topic of discussion at every break out session.
What were some of these much talked about traits? I did a Google search to help me as I was writing this blog. Every article I Googled had slightly different traits listed. There was a common theme amongst the many articles though:
- They like their technology – whether at work or at play. Do you remember what life was like before your Smart Phone?
- They are civic oriented and socially conscious. According to USA today, Millennials are the most civic minded generation since the 1930s. And their sense of social awareness is on the global scale and not just local. Simply put – they want to make the world better.
- Passionate, Risk takers, Entrepreneurial, Spontaneous, Progressive – No matter what you call it, these can all capture their view of wanting to do big things quickly.
- Work/life balance – Not only do they want 9-5 hours that support a fulfilling work and home life, they want their career to be around something they are passionate about as well.
If you read the list again, those traits don’t seem all that bad. Which made me wonder again, why were the Millennials so talked about at the conference? It’s because those traits are not necessarily the personality traits of previous generations. And as Millennials take over the majority of the workforce and customer base, the rest of us need to learn to adapt to the influence and change that Millennials are creating and expecting. Remember the saying that the only constant is change. That applies to all of the wonderful change that the Millennials are generating as well.
I know that I certainly enjoy a few of the changes that Millennials created: keeping in touch with family and friends on Facebook, Twitter providing information and entertainment, Google our new source of research (yes, it is now a verb) and the endless phone apps that allow us to be connected and simplify our lives on our phones (making a deposit to my bank from my living room, saving my Blackhawks ticket to my phone wallet instead of my “real” wallet , fill in the blank for your favorite app). The list of apps is really limitless when you think about it.
So the next time you find yourself in a situation where Millennials are being talked about, remember that good things come from good traits and good people. There is no doubt about it, we really to do love you Millennials.