Who is Changing Who?

By Siobhan C. Smith, Co-President

Who is flawed, Millennials or Organizations? Some believe that Millennials are a flawed generation due to flawed parenting styles.

We recently watched a YouTube segment featuring Simon Sinek, the author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last. We have always admired his insights on leadership and purpose.

In a recent interview on Millennials, he identified issues that suggested Millennials have problems functioning in organizations because of:

  • Failed parenting
  • Being impatient
  • Being addicted to technology
  • Being unprepared to adapt to the organizational environment

Sinek found that parents have set unrealistic expectations by instilling the belief that their Millennial children can have anything they want, whenever they want leaving this generation to enter the work force ill-equipped for corporate life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hER0Qp6QJNU

Some research suggests that Millennials have the lowest self-esteem than any other previous generation and advises that it is up to ORGANIZATIONS to help them get over their issues and change the Millennials.

We offer an alternative perspective. We conduct research on the topic of Future of Work, and have concluded that Millennials can help move organizations to be better. The leaders in the organization can change their mindset and improve the way they think about a key asset: people.

In our view, Millennials are a very confident group because they have taken the time to establish their brand. They are the most educated generation and have always had access to unlimited information on the web. They are vocal about their passions, they want to share their ideas, and they want to make a difference in the world and often look beyond work to do so. They have courage to push organizations for the better and question the status quo. Generation X (born between 1965-1976) who worked for Baby Boomers (born between 1946- 1964), often complied with organizational norms without asking questions and without pushing for change. Xers are noted to have more loyalty to themselves and their profession than to the organization.

Currently, the Millennials are the largest generation and, by 2020, will make up over 50% of the population. By 2025, that number grows to 75%! They are recognizing their ability to transform organizations by redefining that they work WITH organizations not FOR them.

By 2020, there is an anticipated talent shortage with the Baby Boomers leaving the workforce. Millennials possess the talent and organizations need that talent giving Millennials a clear advantage.

We recommend that leaders change their mindset about Millennials and listen. What they want to change is good for business and effective for engaging all generations in the workplace. Who does not want to work for an organization that aligns with one’s values and purpose and where ideas are welcomed and heard? A place where trust is the contract and respect is a given? Millennials are demanding flexibility, open environments, and effective technology so they and all people can be more engaged and productive.

Purpose, engagement, flexibility, and productivity—these are changes Organizations would benefit from supporting.

Catapult is working with organizations to make the transformation. Contact us to learn more.

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