She was a popular news anchor who had paid her dues and worked her way through the ranks to become co-anchor of an evening newscast in a major market. In her forties, she appeared to have a bright future ahead of her.
But then one day she made an announcement that both shocked and intrigued her colleagues and her viewers. She was resigning her position so she and her husband could sail around the world.
At last report, they were having the time of their lives.
One of the key differences between Baby Boomers and Millennials is this: the Millennial would have done this twenty years earlier, and they would have done it in order to fund or raise awareness of a cause.
You see, we are not so very different, Baby Boomers and Millennials. We have one major ideal in common: we seek to find purpose and meaning in life, and to serve a cause beyond ourselves. So while most Baby Boomers plan, work, and save now to do those things later, Millennials have a built-in sense of immediacy.
When we as leaders try to place a Millennial into the world of established corporate constraints, they feel their sense of purpose and freedom being eroded immediately. They don’t want to wait twenty or thirty years to do something meaningful. They want to do it now.
There’s a growing wave of highly successful businesses out there, started by millennials, who have tapped into the idea of purpose-based business. These are companies with large staff, high profit, and low turnover, representing billions of dollars in business today.
Given that the Millennials have now surpassed the Baby Boomers in population, it is easy to see there is a changing of the guard beginning to happen in business.
As a current business leader, how can you tap into the talent of this next group of business leaders?
Realize they are purpose-driven.
Their purpose tends to center on social responsibility. Ask them questions that are purpose-based, such as:
- How can we make the world better?
- How can we create a profitable business that gives back?
- How can we create a business environment that better accommodates life AND work?
Give them opportunities to innovate.
This is the generation of the computer age. They know how to use technology to connect, create, and automate. They may see opportunities for use of technology that previous generations could not yet imagine.
Share your experience.
Numerous surveys have revealed that this independent generation still values one-to-one mentorship. They enjoy learning new things. Tap into this by pairing up experienced managers with new talent.
Consider new ways of doing things.
Of course, the workplace should not center on any one group. But given the influx of Millennials, we owe it to them to consider their thoughts and ideas. Millennials are starting highly profitable companies at younger ages than previous generations. They are not afraid to take risk and try new ideas. Established companies would do well to consider their ideas and implement those which would benefit the company.
Think partnership and collaboration.
This is a social generation. The top down leadership model does not work well for them. What does work is partnership and collaboration. While the corporate structure does call for levels of leadership, adding in collaborative balance would go far in keeping the Millennials on your team engaged.
In fact, applying these five guidelines may help you keep the 40-something’s who are thinking of leaving to find purpose as well. Think about it. If you help someone find purpose and meaning in their work – by using their strengths to help the world – why would they ever want to leave?