How to Connect with Millennials

I share a story from a recent graduate about their first experience in the work force.  To keep with their wish for anonymity, he/she is their pronoun.

This grad found that very few coworkers seem to care about him/her other than in job related issues.  Very few smiled when greeting them, and few even looked up in passing.   He/she feels that labeling as a "millennial or generation y" creates a disconnect in the work place. They found very few role models or mentors, as "everyone was just into THEIR own thing".  The recent grad went on the say, "I want to make it work, and so I hang in there, but it is tough when many seem they just don't care.   Wow!   


So what can we do to work more effectively with one another?


1)  Communicate--When there is a lack of communication to the new employee, they will fill the time with their own narrative and perception of reality.  This is usually negative.

2) Take time out to reach out to a young employee.  In addition to sharing the team or company vision, care about them.  Help them to see what it takes to "walk the walk" as a "teammate' and as a person.  This is what the new generation is looking for in a mentor or role model.

3) Try to understand that, while each generation will be challenging, everyone has a gift.  Reach out and let them know how important their gift is for team success.  When they see that their gift is valued for the overall good of the team, they will thrive.

4)  Do not label.  Just because some of us are in our 60's does not mean we are dinosaurs (or no longer contribute).....think of us as WISE, not old :)  .....labeling a gen y or millennial as lazy clumps one into a catagory and causes immediate disconnect.  Always ask, What is their gift ?


We must find a way to work effectively with all generations!!!!  I repeat, A good start is to look at those with experience as Wise, not old......and to work hard to inspiring the "newbies" to find their gifts.


In this Ted Talk, Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military.  How the only difference between different generations is their experiences. He discusses how building a sense of shared purpose is by listening and learning -- and addressing the possibility of failure. Remember our post from last week?

Mutual Purpose + Mutual Respect = Positive Crucial Conversations = Goal Achievement