I was at a panel discussion with a large group of Dallas-based executives last Friday when a panelist mentioned a term that many of us cringe at: Millennials. I’m one of those kiddos that is nearly straddling two generations (Gen-X and Gen-Y/Millennials), and identify with both generations as a technologist. Many of my peers that are in Gen-X are not nearly as technically savvy as those of us on the younger side of the generation, but the technology uptake of generation X is not the discussion.
Millennials show up all over the place. If you ignore history, you would assume that Millennials present the GREATEST RISK to America’s survival in a competitive world. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these two prominent searches for literature: Harvard Business Review and Google Scholar. Just looking at some of the abstracts that come back show how much the older generations are struggling to relate to this new crop of human capital. You can imagine the strange world view of a Baby Boomer at the end of his career who may have only worked for two or three companies TOTAL who can’t understand why the twenty resumes he is looking at average 2-3 years of tenure.
Millennials have the spotlight shining on them right now, but just wait. The next generation has already been named, and is going to be entering the workforce in the next few years. Gen-Z (somehow we lost our creativity after Gen-X, which is so Gen-X) may prove to be the least privacy oriented, the most plugged in to technology and the Internet, and the least likely to stay in a job for years at a time. And guess what, you Millennials will have to deal with them. Once you are elevated to a management-level position, it’s going to be up to you to figure out how to recruit, retain, and leverage talent to meet your goals.