Studies show that millennials make up approximately 25 percent of the U.S. workforce and by 2020 they will form 50 percent of the global workforce. With a new generation of top talent working its way into the job market, many corporations face the common struggle of meeting the demands of a multi-generational workforce.
BlackEnterprise.com sat down with executive leadership consultant Curtis Odom, Ed.D., who specializes in multi-generational talent management, to gain insights on what companies can do to create an engaging work culture that’s inclusive to all generations, especially millennials. Serving as the principal and managing partner of the Boston-based firm Prescient Strategists, Odom is the author of Mind The Gap: Getting Business Results In Multigenerational Organizations, where he offers advice on how employers can bridge the generational gap amongst company talent. With a clear understanding of the value millennials bring to the workforce and the struggle companies have with adapting to the demands of new talent, Odom outlines three key tips to help companies attract and retain top millennial professionals.
1. Flexibility in work/life balance: Odom says it’s important for employers to understand that millennials have a very narrow concept of work and life separation.
“They are not going to put their smart phone or device away when they come to work. Their working styles and preferences might look different,” says Odom. “They might come in later, but then they might stay later.”
Odom says in order for companies to attain and retain millennial talent, they must have an understanding of millennial work patterns and not be so quick to write young professionals off as lazy or unprofessional.
2. Be open to conversation and feedback: Instead of ignoring the advice or feedback from young incoming talent, Odom says that in order for a company to thrive as a leader in today’s work force they must be open to hearing the suggestions all employees have regardless of age. He says no employee wants to hear, “Oh, you haven’t been here long enough to add value,” and that any company who thinks that way will lose millennial talent often.
3. Get rid of your company time component: Odom says just about all millennials coming into the workforce are curious about what it takes to be successful and move up within their organization. Instead of a company telling their employees they have to be at the company five or ten years before they can reach a certain level, Odom suggests employers have a conversation with incoming staff about what tasks need to be done in order to get that next level of promotion or title change.