When All Else Fails, Blame Millennials

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When All Else Fails, Blame Millennials

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The trend might be, blame millennials. It seems that every workplace problem or business decline somehow is connected with millennial behavior. Is it true?

Who They Are

One of the most important factors to consider is that not every person 35 or younger is a millennial. In fact, the oldest millennials are about to turn 40. The youngest adult population really represents generation Z (Gen 9/11, iGen, Gen Z).

Therefore, it seems that the youngest millennials and Gen Z might really be the target. Should they be? Alternatively, you might ask, do the generations that come before them lack foresight and adaptability?

Generational groupings are determined by major shifts. Technology and socio-economic conditions are definitely part of the drivers for these shifts.

Millennial and Gen Z buying habits might be different but are their mindsets? Expanding the question we should probably ask, “Different from what?”

An important factor for assessing generational differences is to consider that there are differences in age but there are also differences in values and beliefs. It is not so much age that creates the generational divide. It is a difference in values and beliefs.

What does this mean when it comes to our workforce?

Blame Millennials

Organizations often find themselves scrambling to find ways to attract and retain the younger segment of our workforce population. They offer incentives, suggest they are the best place to work, relax some policies and procedures, change work hours, and even throw out longstanding dress codes.

If none of those seem to work, they blame millennials, or sometimes the parents of millennials. Often resolving our challenges is not about who is to blame, it is more about how to make it better. You might consider how you will clean things up, change, adapt, and be interestingly different.

There is a philosophy about building relationships and making new connections. It might apply to discovering more about how to work across multiple generations. It goes something like this, “You have to be interested before you are interesting.”

Work With You

Generational differences can be challenging to navigate. They are real. Yes, there are connections to participation trophies, cell phones, and the sense of entitlement. Values and beliefs might be different but not necessarily unrealistic.

From my experiences, the majority of our youngest representations in the workforce don’t believe that they don’t have to work.

They are often just trying to decide if they should work with you.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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