Is the answer right in front of us?

1Workforce planning is the core of Human Resources and the crux of how businesses evolve and grow. We have posted blogs about how to plan, and how that planning is critical to success. Blogs about how workers are staying put and are going to be difficult to attract to your company. Blogs about how to build the best talent acquisition model that will give you an advantage in the market. So many articles have been written and emailed around discussing how to find those core skills that every company needs to succeed. We want optimistic, high energy, flexible, diverse, educated and technologically nimble. And we want ‘em at a nice cost point. Our biggest expense is labor. So how do we get the best bang for our proverbial buck?


According to TIME, ” 80 million Americans were born roughly between 1980 and 2000”… they “adapt quickly to a world undergoing rapid technological change. They’re optimistic, they’re confident and they’re pragmatic at a time when it can be difficult just to get by.” I have the privilege, nay, the honor to work with several people of this age. Nothing gets them down.


From the PEW Research Center, we find that this age group, let’s call them… Millennials, is more diverse than previous generations: 39 percent are nonwhite (14 percent African American, 20 percent Hispanic, and 5 percent Asian-American), compared to 30 percent of the general population. They are more highly educated: 54 percent have had some college education, compared to only 36 percent of "baby boomers" (those ages 50-64) at their age. They are more connected: 90 percent use the Internet at least occasionally, compared to 79 percent of boomers, and 75 percent use social networking sites, compared to only 30 percent of boomers.


So, it’s safe to assume that these so-called “Millennials” are diverse and educated and play well with new technology. And it appears they are driven. It just may present itself in different ways… “68% of Millennials overall believe they have the opportunity to be entrepreneurs” (TIME). That takes some drive, to believe at that age, they can just have a shot at building their own company.


Yet, what I hear again and again from our clients is that they are being flooded by these Millennials. They are referred to us, they apply online to positions they’re not qualified for, and sometimes they get our emails and ask us directly for a job. But… what if they are not just the square pegs to the round holes that our organizations have created? What if they are just a different shape, one we haven’t seen before?


“Hmmm… I did give this one kid a shot once. But it went horrible. She showed up and asked the manager when she can get promoted during the first interview.”


Maybe, if we coach them, and set the ground rules, there may be a chance of getting one of these Millennials in the door? Then what? How can we possibly get them to conform? They were raised a little differently than we were, Millennials received so many participation trophies growing up that 40 percent of them think they should be promoted every two years – regardless of performance (TIME). Maybe, if we set expectations a little better, we could harness what appears to be Narcissistic Personality Disorder into something that we can use…


We are at a unique point globally in the modern era of work and what work means to productivity. There are more generations in the workforce than at any time in human history. If we look close maybe what we’ve been looking for all along is right in front of us. We want optimistic, high energy, flexible, diverse, educated and technologically nimble. And we want ‘em at a nice cost point.3


So, I pose a challenge. Give a Millennial a shot and make a conscious effort to set expectations and coach them so that they can be set up to succeed. I think you and your organization will be pleasantly surprised.

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