You need to learn more, and you need to learn faster. Your organization’s health depends on it. You need to see how things are changing BEFORE the change is beaten to death in the main stream press. You need to be aware of the failings of your own internal processes BEFORE half of the marketing department quits. Your strategy and your culture, and even your key financial metrics are going to be changing more frequently in today’s world. That’s why your pace of learning is so important, and you can’t learn quickly if you only stay at the high level.
The number of Millennials in the workplace is growing, and will continue to do so for at least another decade. Much of the growth, of course, will be in the form of entry-level workers–that’s where all generations start off. But it’s important to note that the oldest Millennials are now in their 30s. They’re experts. Managers. Leaders.
If you’re like me, you’ve been seeing a lot written about the Millenials lately. It’s understandable, since by most accounts they are the biggest generation in U.S. history. So while Gen X got some attention back in the early 90s when they were entering the workforce, the attention on the Millennials is likely going to follow them their whole career. Given their importance, then, here’s a simple question: Who are the Millennials?
It is important that we not stay transfixed on the buzzing work of social media, because this permanent change to our business landscape has set in motion some other changes that need our attention. Specifically, as social media became the norm, I’ve noticed some changes in what is valued.
I spent a little time over the last few weeks outside of my usual bubble, and here’s something that surprised me:
Much of the world still has not figured out social media.
Both IT and Marketing seem to be in the middle of revolutionary changes. Things are shaking up. And this is a unique time in history where we can take those changes and apply them more broadly to leadership and management. But not if you stay stuck in your departmental mindset. Are you up to the challenge?
We’ll develop the right strategies, will set up the right social tools, we’ll engage our customers, and we’ll develop a kick-ass set of company values, but in the end we won’t see that promised increase in productivity or effectiveness. Why? Because the senior team members never actually resolved their underlying differences about the strategic direction before they wrote it down in the plan. And our departments never actually act on customer feedback because they feel the problems identified are some other department’s fault. And frankly, when anyone internally acts in ways that contradict our values, we rarely confront them, at least not directly. Because we cannot deal well with conflict, we are missing out on the benefits of social business.
“Your workplace will need to figure out how to integrate the different views of your Millennial employees with the existing practices established mostly by Boomers and Xers. Frankly, you’ll probably also need to take a look at your culture to see if it is holding on to values from generations that are no longer there, that may not be serving your organization any more.”
Vineet Nayar is the CEO of HCL Technologies, a large company in India. He talks about trusting his younger employees, and really giving them responsibility. But here’s the rub: he doesn’t have a choice. Nearly half of India’s population is under the age of 25.