Workplace: The Millennial Generation


Published on

This article discusses the characteristics of the millennial generation along with how to they like to be managed and how to recruit them. This article is heavily emphasized on the architecture, engineering and construction industry where there will likely be a labor shortage in the next five years and recruiting the millennial generation will be imperative.

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Workplace: The Millennial Generation

  1. 1. 18 Workplace: The Millennial Generation BY DANA GALVIN Introduction They also don’t seem to mesh with corporate culture right away. The human resources department did its job hiring and recruiting. Past recruits who didn’t like something about their job simply The company has five brand-new engineers determined to be quit and moved on to the next job with a competitor. If the firm the “brightest and best” from the most prominent engineering is lucky, of these five, one will be left in two years’ time. programs in the country. Already armed with master’s degrees from competitive programs like the University of Michigan, Penn State, There is an extreme difference between the newest generation Purdue, and Georgia Tech, the new recruits are 25 years old and coming into the workforce and its predecessors. The way in which ready to kick their careers into high gear the moment they walk these individuals, known as “Millennials,” are recruited, hired, in the door…and they expect to be CEO by Friday. managed, and developed will play an enormous role in the firm’s succession planning and ultimate success. There is something different about these employees though—their expectations of the job are a little different. They are definitely Meanwhile, as the Millennial code is being cracked, an industry- go-getters, yet their work seems to come second to their life specific challenge is arising for A/E/C firms: The number of new experiences. Some have already served in the military. Others and renovation construction projects across the country promises to have another professional degree but went back to school to only increase, however the number of engineers and construction go into engineering or construction management. management college majors is decreasing. And the research and studies only show the problem will become larger as time goes on. Society for Marketing Professional Services
  2. 2. This article identifies the issue of recruiting top talent of the Millennial generation to work in the A/E/C industry 100 million people. This growth is exponentially larger compared to previous population increases. The effect of another 100 million 19 by discussing the attributes of the generation along with the people includes more than 100 billion square feet of non-residential recruitment, management, and development of what is being space coupled with the renovation or replacement of 70 billion called the next great generation of workers: the Millennials. square feet of existing non-residential space. Many industry experts say we will be re-building America over the next 30 years. The Generational Divide In 2006, C.D. Fisher, L.F. Schoenfeldt, and J.B. Shaw wrote that, The Millennial Make-up in the first decade of the 21st century, many organizations would So who are these Millennials and what makes them tick? There contain employees from four distinctly different generations. This have been many studies, articles, and books written about the is a first in American history and the challenges that workplaces newest generation entering the workforce. Let’s dive a little are seeing with this development are not surprising. deeper into the Millennial make-up. In Chuck Underwood’s book, The Generational Imperative, the Born between 1979 and 1995, the Millennials are 80 million author explains that people develop the core values and beliefs strong, which is twice the number of Gen Xers. Fourteen out they will embrace their entire lives during their formative years of 100 Americans are Millennials (Jayson, 2006). They have from birth to age 20. The experiences and teachings during this been smothered by their “helicopter parents” who have hovered time dictate an individual’s value system. When a group of people and scheduled their every move and activity from the time they share the same experiences and teachings at the same age, they were born. These parents also have doted on them, telling them become a generation. they were the best, and they have the accolades to prove it since their little league teams gave trophies to everyone—not just The four generations are identified as follows: the winners. As young adults, they have become best friends Silents (born between 1927–1945) with their parents, and they actually get along better with older generations. Millennials are team players, community activists, Baby Boomers (born between 1946 –1964) and education focused. Gen Xers (born between 1965–1978) Millennials (born between 1979–1995) The Statistics Millennials are also the generation of extended adolescence. They The employment statistics for the A/E/C industry forecast two enjoy living at home after college, job sampling along the way. major challenges: a shrinking pool of new talent combined with Having fun is at the top of their list, and given the fact that they the retirement of experienced Baby Boomers. The Bureau of Labor will probably live another 80+ years, they are not rushing into Statistics forecasts that employment in the construction industry marriage or parenthood. will grow at an average 11.4% between 2004 and 2014, creating close to a million new jobs. Despite the projected need for more Managing the Working Millennial workers, the primary working-age group (those between the ages of Millennials are comfortable working with their elders. They excel 25 and 54 years) is projected to decline, resulting in approximately in team/group environments; however, they need clear goals and three million fewer employees in this age range alone. With these structure given to them. This group is always optimistic and good types of statistics, many A/E/C firms will likely find themselves spirited and can be completely focused on getting the job done… competing for top talent. The decreasing number of qualified staff as long as it’s on their timetable and using their ideas. will force firms to reevaluate how they recruit and retain talent. Millennials don’t expect to stay forever in one job, and they tend Illustrating a more alarming picture is the amount of building that to hop around if something doesn’t go their way. Researchers say will be taking place because of the growth in population and people they’ve been raised in a climate that emphasizes the importance living much longer. In 2006, the American population reached 300 of high self-esteem, so they appear to challenge the boundaries million people. In 30 years or less, the population will gain another of corporate behavior. Marketer/April 2009
  3. 3. 20 “There is an extreme difference Clear rules for technology usage should be established at the very beginning for Millennials; a dress code also should be clearly between the newest generation defined. And while everyone should be learning the generational coming into the workforce and differences, teaching the Millennials what they are up against will its predecessors.” only benefit them in the long run. Finally, the most important thing when managing a Millennial is “When they have a problem in the workplace, they walk,” says to understand and provide for their need for a work/life-balanced Neil Howe, co-author of the book Generations and four other environment. They play on sports teams, walk for causes, spend books about this group. Howe and co-author William Strauss time with friends and family—all of which working 8 to 5 may in 1991 dubbed this group “Millennials.” limit. Allow them to be flexible with their work schedules as they know what needs to be accomplished and will work whenever Millennials need to be spoken to more like a therapist on television they need to in order to get the job done. would speak to a patient. They are more receptive to advice rather than harshness. Because of their constantly doting parents, a How to Recruit Millennials manager should steer clear of telling them that he or she is disap- Recruiting Millennials to work at A/E/C firms will take programs pointed in them. According to Marian Salzman, an ad agency and communication like never created before. Firms cannot executive who has been managing and tracking Millennials since control the number of students majoring in construction-related they entered the workforce, “You can’t really ask them to live fields; however, they can assure that their firm is on the top of the and breathe the company. Because they’re living and breathing student’s list as an ideal employer. In order to be competitive, firms themselves and that keeps them very busy.” will have to offer untraditional benefit and compensation packages and communicate to them early and often. The following are four While their childhoods filled with trophies and accomplishments ideas on attracting the very best and brightest Millennials. didn’t prepare them for the cold realities of work, the Millennial generation is actually called the next great working generation. 1. Allow for Community Involvement They have and will become competitive career-ists; however, they Millennials are passionate about community service and helping will better manage their work/play integration. Millennials seek those less fortunate. In 1994, 900,000 high school students were relevant, meaningful work now, and they will stop at nothing to involved with community service programs; in 2003, 6.2 million be included on creative decisions. were involved (Underwood, 2006). Civic duty is part of a Mil- lennial’s make-up. Firms should advocate serving the community One major advantage that Millennials have going for them is by utilizing staff volunteers with programs such as Habitat for their ability to adapt to new and emerging technology coupled Humanity, Community Fundraisers, and Charity Walks. Even with their ability to use this technology to get things done fast more appealing to the Millennial would be allowing for a number and accurately. They invented the word multi-tasking with their of work days a year to serve the community in his/her chosen way. ability to talk on the phone, write an e-mail, and text message at the same time. They are also masters at networking, both 2. Provide Work/Life Balance virtually and personally. Providing a reasonable work/life balance for the Millennial will be a major priority for the individual. This includes a flexible work To ensure a Millennial’s immersion into a corporate culture, a schedule. A Millennial does not mind working overtime, but he/ strong orientation is highly suggested. Millennials will thrive in she will want to go to yoga class, a golf lesson, or book club...don’t an environment that has structure and clear rules. They gener- worry, he/she will return to complete work once it’s over. ally seek this type of environment; however, they also expect that their managers will draw out and respect their ideas. A Millen- Millennials also like employee-centered workplaces. They want to nial’s manager should reward with more responsibility and goals enjoy their work and their workplace by making friends. Company which will in turn help the individual to develop a clear career outings and the ability to socialize with co-workers are important path for themselves. in the eyes of Millennials as it gives them the chance to connect on a personal level. They will even help to plan the event if you When managing Millennials, it is important to offer variety allow them the chance. These types of activities not only benefit and give them constant specific feedback. Their work should be Millennials but other long-term employees as well. personalized and any criticism of their abilities or work should be handled delicately and carefully because of their sensitive nature. Millennials need to see where their careers are going, and they “The Millennial generation is called want to know exactly what they need to do to get there. Millen- nials await their next challenge—there better be a next challenge. the next great working generation. ” Society for Marketing Professional Services
  4. 4. 3. Demonstrate Organization Stability According to Chuck Underwood, Millennials love a good story. Conclusion Many of our A/E/C firms have all of the tools available to employ 21 Highlighting a firm’s strong history through communications a comprehensive and successful recruiting effort toward the to recruits will pique their interest in an organization. Millennial Millennial generation. By communicating what is important recruits want to know that their company has a future and has to Millennials and demonstrating how the company will keep a story of its own. They want to feel that they are bringing value their best interests in mind, Millennials will surely keep it on to the world through their work. Millennials also are looking for their ideal employer list. leaders with honesty and integrity. It’s not that they don’t want to be leaders, too; they’d just like some great role models first. Managers should learn and acknowledge the differences in Millennial employees and also work to help them adapt to the 4. Offer Opportunities with Rewards corporate culture. The next great generation of workers is out Millennials want to know that they have the opportunity for there, and appealing to them during the recruitment phase growth, development, and a career path. Demonstrating the will help to build the great working teams of the future. challenging work experiences that an A/E/C firm can provide along with the sense of accomplishment and growth from project to project will pique the interest of the Millennial. About the Author Projects such as hospitals, office buildings, sports stadiums, schools, and manufacturing plants provide unique and com- A Gen X/Millennial hybrid, Dana Galvin is marketing manager for Barton Malow Company plex learning opportunities. By communicating these challenges (, based in the company’s through pictures and stories, the Millennial will be listening. Southfield, MI, headquarters and is President- Elect of SMPS Michigan. She can be reached at 248.436.5570 or This is her first contribution to Marketer. Early-Bird Discount Save $50 when you register and pay The Basics of Business Development 30 days prior to program date! in the A/E/C Marketplace Win Focus your sales efforts to generate profits and build business for your firm in today’s Work! challenging marketplace in this one-day, interactive seminar. Earn valuable CEUs. Dates November 12, 2008 Washington, DC March 31, 2009 San Francisco, CA and November 18, 2008 Los Angeles, CA July 15, 2009 Las Vegas, NV Cities March 10, 2009 Houston, TX Register today at 2008–09 SMPS Educational Series 6ns-SMPS-BD-ad.indd 1 Marketer/April 2009 9/2/08 3:19:29 PM