BTS Strategic Execution Blog

Developing Millennials: Not as Hard as You Think

Wednesday, August 05, 2015 | Category :
    • Assessment
    • Blogs

By Matthew Tonken

An inevitability in our world (for now, at least) is that no one can live forever. As a result, the millennial generation—those born in the 80′s and 90′s—will eventually take over to lead our companies and our society. The question that seems to be on everyone’s mind, however, is: Are they ready?

According to Bentley University’s preparedness study, 59% of business decision makers give recent college graduates a C grade or lower for preparedness in their first jobs. A study conducted by ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) further confirmed that most companies do not offer leadership development programs specifically for millennials and have no plans to do so. Given that the preparedness study found that 68% of corporate recruiters say that it is difficult for their organizations to manage millennials, this isn’t an ideal situation for a generation that will make up more than half of the workforce within the next decade.

It isn’t an ideal situation for employers, either, especially when considering that, according to a study by CEB, 23% of disengaged high-potential employees show interest in staying with their current employer. When only 55% of millennials assert a loyalty to their employer, the door to high turnover rates seem to be left open. So how would a company go about capitalizing on this?

Emily Esfahani Smith and Jennifer L. Aaker assert in the New York Times that millennials “report being less focused on financial success than they are on making a difference.” Is that something attainable? Of course. Is it something guaranteed? Not necessarily, depending on your perspective. But it’s this sense of meaning that a company can use to its advantage when developing millennials. Deloitte analyst John Bersin believes that millennials value organization movement. This movement doesn’t always need to be in the form of a promotion or advancement; it can also be horizontal. Bersin cites a company that was losing its young employees after less than a year on the job. After opening a new site for career path mapping within the company, they significantly decreased that level of turnover.

Development programs also leave a strong impact on millennials, as they play into the notion of meaning and significance. Millennials are likely to take development-oriented assessment programs seriously, since they view such programs as opportunities for growth and future considerations.

Through  E-valuation™, a company can develop millennials in a familiar environment that takes advantage of their expectation for high-technology in the workplace. The replication of a true-to-life work environment embeds the millenial in the organization, thereby allowing the participant to experience the meaning and opportunity the organization provides. Furthermore, the behavior-based feedback plays to the millenials’ desire for rich, robust information about their work style and opportunity that style provides.

In fact, millennials may be the ideal group to utilize E-valuation™, as the technology it encompasses is the technology they have been using throughout their formative years. Their ability to seamlessly adapt to the platform coupled with their enthusiasm for the concept of the program makes E-valuation™ an efficient and cost-effective method for developing this younger generation.

Millennials are certainly a different generation from those past, sculpted by greater access to education and rapidly improving technology. But understanding their needs and goals can produce a successful development plan for the younger generation. The numbers may point to millennials’ current status being less than ideal, but the solution is not quite as difficult as it may appear.

 

Sources:

Kabani, S. (2013, December 5). Study Reveals Surprising Facts About Millennials In The Workplace. Forbes. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/shamakabani/2013/12/05/study-reveals-surprising-facts-about-millennials-in-the-workplace/

Galagan, P. (2013, March 13). ASTD Research: Leadership Development for Millennials. . Retrieved May 19, 2014, from http://www.astd.org/Publications/Newsletters/LX-Briefing/LXB-Archives/2013/03/ASTD-Research-Leadership-Development-For-Millennials

Smith, E., & Aaker, J. (2013, November 30). Millennial Searchers. The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/opinion/sunday/millennial-searchers.html?_r=0

Vaccardo, A. (2014, March 19). Why It’s So Hard to Turn Fickle Millennials Into Leaders. Inc.com. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from http://www.inc.com/adam-vaccaro/young-talent-leadership-development.html

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