Why Are Businesses Ignoring Their Future - The Millennials?

Millennials seem to be misunderstood and a feared generation for most businesses yet they will become 75% of the workforce in the next 10 years.

Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Box, Airbnb, Groupon, and Tumblr - any of these sound familiar? All were founded by millennials.

Even with these companies as proof of what the Millennial Generation can achieve, only 7% of millennials work for Fortune 500 companies according to Millennial Branding, and 37% are unemployed (Pew Research Group).

If millennials have this much to offer, why aren't they working for some of the biggest companies? Why aren't more millennials leading companies?

Lack of Understanding Or Ability To Lead Them

Millennials are nothing like the generations before them. In order to hire and lead them, leaders have to understand them. They are the first “connected” generation, meaning they feel like their cell phone is an extra limb on their body. Eighty percent of them sleep with their cell phone glowing beside their bed.

They feel parenthood and marriage are more important than career and financial success. They love social media, selfies, posting videos of themselves, tattoos, and piercings. This may seem like privacy doesn't matter, however 70% of them have privacy boundaries on their social media and have their tattoos hidden.

They Are Influenced By Innovation

They say that the biggest barriers to innovation are manager’s attitude, operational structure and procedures, and lack of diversity. Seventy-five percent believe that organizations can do more to develop future leaders.

Sixty percent believe organizations can become good at innovation by following established processes and that innovation can be learned. They believe innovation is repeatable rather than spontaneous and random.

Sixty-seven percent believe that there is a reluctance to take risks, a reliance on existing products, services, and ways of doing business from managers.

Sixty-seven percent cite that there are a variety of organizational barriers that impede new thinking include poor channels of communication across the organization, lack of a formal process to encourage innovation, and a poor organizational structure.

They Are Influenced By Social Impact

They state that the success of a business should be measured in more than just terms of financial performance. An organization should focus on improving society, be involved in charities and community organizations.

They feel as though many large corporate businesses only promote the wealthy and give nothing back to the middle or lower classes. They care more about their bottom line and their shareholders than they do about contributing to charities.

Ways To Attract & Allow Millennials To Thrive

  • Allow Them to Be Part Of Innovation - Give them the time to discover out-of-the-box solutions and allow it to be a part of the business process.
  • Think Tank Sessions - Schedule them often and allow all levels of employees to attend
  • Idea Generation Tool - Create a way for employees to have the ability to submit ideas
  • Social Media - Ensure that your company is continuously on social media and has an impactful strategy
  • Give, Give, Give - TOMS gives a pair of shoes and Bombas gives a pair of socks; they publicize it and make it part of their business strategy
  • Communication - Keep them in the know about all of the organizations decisions, strategies, and changes

Pew Research Group is a contributor to some of the content in this article.