Washington (USA) – With Millennials outnumbering Baby Boomers in the workplace, tensions arise as older workers struggle to understand the Millennial mindset. Is it true that these 19-32 year-olds come to work feeling entitled to a cushy job with unlimited opportunities for advancement? Silvana Clark, co-author of Millennials vs Boomers, Listen, Learn and Succeed Together, (Sourcebooks, 2016) states, “I’ve been a speaker for over 25 years and have never run into such volatile discussions as when I do a presentation on millennials in the workplace. One man actually shouted that he would rather have an unfilled position than hire a lazy, apathetic and self-centered Millennial.”
What is it that frustrates Boomers the most?
“I’m shocked how Millennials come to work with such a laid-back, casual attitude,” said a manager of a major business. “They see no need to arrive on time, dress appropriately or stop texting during a staff meeting. When I mention the type of behavior expected in the workplace, they look at me as if I have no right to make such a suggestion.”
After talking with hundreds of Baby Boomers, Clark found three things that irritate Boomers when working with Millennials. (Of course there are exceptions of hard working, dedicated Millennials,) but these are the most common irritants:
1. They don’t have a work ethic. Boomers give numerous examples of Millennials actually
2. saying, “I don’t do that type of work”, when asked to do a specific task. Many want
3. to set their own assignments and work remotely. 1st Step Solution: Be very specific in describing specific job duties during the hiring process.
4. They want constant feedback from busy managers on how they measure up at work. Positive feedback of course! Millennials have grown up with mentors and even high school life coaches, so they are used to people building them up and commenting on their accomplishments. 1st Step Solution: Set aside a very specific time each week when Millennials can meet with managers. One company has a weekly 20 minute time during the lunch hour for Millennials and Boomers to meet for casual interaction.
5. Yes, they do have a sense of entitlement! Over and over, Boomers share stories of Millennials complaining because they are expected to be at work on time and even dress a certain way. One 26-year-old told his boss, “I have a Master’s degree…do you really expect me to be an assistant on this project? I should be the leader.” 1st Step Solution: At times tough love is required in letting Millennials know promotions and increased responsibility comes only from demonstrating a willingness to work hard at any job assignment. Prepare a written list of tasks to be accomplished for promotions.
The book, Millennial vs Boomers: Listen, Learn and Succeed Together has the unique format of being a “flip-book”. One side of the book discusses work topics from a Boomer’s perspective. Flip the book over and the same topics are seen from a Millennial’s point of view. One book that gives practical tips on how the two generations can develop a professional and productive working relationship.
About: Author and speaker Silvana Clark spent six weeks living with 125 Millennials to research her book. Contact her www.silvanaclark.com to discuss having her give a presentation at your next conference.