Why Are Businesses Ignoring Their Future – The Millennials?

by  Jonathan Moss  |  Workplace Issues
Why Are Businesses Ignoring Their Future – The Millennials? post image

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.

What’s Next? Please leave a comment below to join the conversation…
Photo Credit: emilybinder.com

About The Author

Articles By jonathan-moss
Jonathan is an Innovative & Thought Provoking Leader with experience in multiple Fortune 50 companies. He has dedicated his time to making an impact on others through coaching, mentoring, inspiring & teaching. He has helped others grow their businesses & careers through his strategies. He believes in the Servant Leadership philosophies & has helped build employee centric cultures with award winning results.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Paula Kiger  |  21 Oct 2014  |  Reply

These are all interesting points, Jonathan. The first time I was advised (in a call center management training) that I should consider letting the trainees keep their personal phones with them “because they’d be lost without them,” I can’t say I was all that open to the idea. BUT time moves on. I sometimes feel (at 49) like a misplaced millennial myself. I do struggle still with the balance between what I’ve observed among millennials (not to lump them all in one bucket) to move quickly from job to job and the fact that there’s really no way to get institutional knowledge or learn to work through long, hard, arduous processes without sticking around for a while. Not sure what the answer is but I’d love for them to somehow see the value of longevity in certain situations.

Jonathan Moss  |  24 Oct 2014  |  Reply

Great comments Paula! I see these things all the time! It is hard as we all have to adapt. I do believe there are ways for millennials to see longevity, however most leaders haven’t adjusted their leadership styles and most businesses haven’t changed their structures and processes to be conducive for millennials to see that value. Organizations have to adapt, understand them, and make changes that will make them see the value of longevity. I know it is hard for people and organizations to do that, however the problem will never be fixed if they don’t. Currently, millennials will have 16 jobs before they retire. We have to change that!

John Marcello  |  22 Oct 2014  |  Reply

Paula, you and I are what I call “straddlers”. Myself at age 45 maybe even a little more so. We most likely passed through our college years during a pivotal point in the change from analog to digital communication technology. We were probably the last bit of a generation who still hand-wrote letters, post cards and rough drafts for term papers. I was still doing a lot of writing by hand when I began university. By the time I finished my undergraduate work I was doing papers on word processors. A few years after that as I entered the work force, I was one of the first in my generation to have to learn how to work with email, internet and a fully digitized culture. So suffice it to say we know both sides of the coin fairly well. At one point in my career, I moved around a lot from job-to-job. There were considerably more rewards and a few obstacles too but all-in-all I’d say “the kids are alright”. And as a bonus, I still know how to write in cursive and properly address an envelope…

Jonathan Moss  |  24 Oct 2014  |  Reply

Thanks for the comments John! You are right a lot the things that we do or did with the personal touch has been lost because of technology.

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