In our previous blog articles, we addressed what is millennial employee and some tips on how to address their concerns and needs.
One point that many leaders either don’t know or forget is that millennials want to become the CEO on about day 4 with the company! No foolin’, that is the expectation of many young millennial workers. In some cases, they can handle it, however, in most cases; some additional seasoning is normally required.
As a leader, you need to be prepared for this phenomenon the day that you either hire a millennial or the day that you are promoted and now have millennials working for you! This is especially true of the dynamic, hard charging employees who are proud of their work. OK, now what? What do you do when this point is identified to you?
First of all, you need to be brutally honest with millennials. They can detect BS 4 miles away—this will NOT work. You are going to need hard, focused, pointed answers to each one of their questions. Do NOT assume that any interaction is pro forma, i.e. We are “just going through the motions” with them. This includes the on-boarding process, the job description discussion, the establishment of measureable and achievable goals and objectives and how those goals and align with not only division but also corporate goals also. Be prepared to be able to show the alignment and interaction of all the goals. Further be prepared to be challenged and questioned on each point. The questions are normally not of a confrontational tone, but they are pointed and extremely well focused. Again, no BS. If you don’t know—admit you don’t, then find out and report back to the millennial who asked the question.
For many baby boomer leaders, this discussion is a lot harder than before. I have a colleague who said he always came away “whipped” from one of these talks. This is a very senior executive who has led large organizations—he is a great leader, however, the millennial discussion always gave him a good workout! He never ducks the chance to have the discussion, however, he prepares robustly for the talk.
Most millennials will recognize after a career chat that they are NOT ready today to be the CEO, however, does not mean in 6 months that you will not have that conversation again. What will be asked of you is for you to provide the training and experiences so that when that conversation comes in 6 more months, the millennial is ready to advance forward.
My personal experience with many millennials is that they will readily accept your advice, provided it is good and solid. They will work and do what you state, however, the millennial expectation is that the game plan you designed for them will fulfill not only your goals as a senior leaders, but also the millennial goal to move forward.
Interestingly enough, I have found some millennials who were really “amped up” to be CEO’s. OK, we gave them tough, demanding and challenging assignments in preparation for that day. Once they found out and through firsthand experience that doing CEO type matters is not always what it appear to be, their expectations changed as well. Long, hard hours, weekends, nights, Sundays, numerous social functions, a constant tether to the IPAD and smartphone— everything that CEO does but they did not see caused some to “slow down” a little. Some were very clear that if that is what the CEO has to do, then “No Thanks,” not for me—at least now.
Millennial employees are fun to work with! They want a challenge! Give it to them—you will be surprised with what they give you back. The results will be normally very superb!