Thursday, January 12, 2012

What to Do with Millennials?

Millennials have arrived. They are young, energetic and numerous. Their arrogance makes your blood boil and their contempt for authority is exemplary. From workplace amusement they are turning into a palpable economic threat for older generations. I am one of them.
I read Managing the Millennials during my Christmas vacation this year. It's an easy read - something that you would swallow in a gulp being caressed by the easy breeze of the ocean, or maybe you are really struggling with these intrusive, obnoxious and outstandingly creative youngsters that are flooding the workplace. I recognized myself. It was not always a very pleasant revelation: there are Gen Y traits that I am not particularly fond of but it was an empowering experience to read about myself and understanding why I was succeeding or failing in various situations in the past.

It is a cute attempt at trying to reach out to the managers of older generations and trying to explain to them (and teach them) how the Millenials can be managed. It's spelling out the co-habitation rules with the youngsters. The way the information is presented was not appealing to me personally because
  • it is too americanized (the statistics, the examples, the way it is narrated, etc.)
  • it is too structured (I thought immediately that a consultant was writing it, and later I found out there were three of them)
  • it is written for older generations only (man, that should be clearly stated at the title page: 35+ only!). While it is instructive to read about your own generation (doing the reflective rounds in your head on your own Weltanschaung), the style and manner have not been adapted for my likes, so I guess the authors have lost a large chunk of potential readers and admirers.

Secondly, they offer an interactive self-assessment tool online. It's something like ten pages of questions with no pictures or conversations in them and at the end they promise to send you the personalized report the following day as a "thank you" for participation. I have received a confirmation message that my answers have been submitted, but I am still waiting for the report until this very moment. Dudes, that's not cool.

Among many others, one idea I liked in particular: I think it was very creative on the part of the authors to draw parallels between the Maslow's theory of needs and how different generations relate to work. It is summarized in the picture below: while for the earlier generation merely having a job was already God's blessing, for Millennials work is a way to express themselves, and changing a job for this "texter" generation sometimes is as easy as post an update on Facebook.

Summary: if you are interested in another behavioral model (now adapted to fit the generations theory), give it a go and spend a couple of hours with the book. Otherwise, I guarantee that the world will not sift away from under your feet if you spend your time on something else. Having a cup of coffee with a Millennial, maybe. After all, to understand one, you need to talk to one. Ta!


  1. Wow, nice post,there are many
    person searching about that now they will find enough resources by your
    post.Thank you for sharing to us.Please one more post about that..

  2. Hi there, thank you for your articles about Managing Gen Y & Gen Y: Russia is not ready. I am particularly interested in Gen y and Gen x in Russia (so people currently until 40 something). Do you know some source where I can read about the special characteristics of these generations in Russia (Russian would be acceptable too)?

  3. Hi, I would refer you to a friend of mine who has a consultancy specialising in Generations Theory in Russia. Her name is Evgenia Shamis, and you can find her contacts as well as some publications on her website:



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