Millennial generation loves challenges

Sometimes called "Generation Y" or the "Echo Boomers," these individuals were born between 1979 and 2000.

The earlier Millennials are the newest members of our workforce and are often the children of the Baby Boomers. They represent a large number of our population, outpacing the Xers by upwards of 30 million people, according to government census statistics.

CPA St CharlesMany of these workers grew up in dual-working households, so they became independent at an early age. They have been exposed to all the trappings of a technologically advanced society and recognize that they are citizens of the world, not just their city, state or country. The whole world is open to them, so they often have lofty ambitions. They often, though, don't have a plan for achieving them.

Millennials, like Generation Xers, tend to be very "me" focused. Being happy is more important than being successful by someone else's definition.

"They see their jobs as a means of earning an income TODAY, not as a calling or devotion," says Cam Marston, author and speaker on generational workplace issues. They do, however, want to feel that their jobs have meaning. They want to know how what they do affects the bigger picture and benefits society.

Climbing the corporate ladder for its own sake doesn't appeal to the Millennials, but staying challenged does. It is critical for employers to engage these workers in the company's mission and help them understand where their contributions fit in the overall scheme of things.

Millennials have grown up multi-tasking – their schedules as children were often more demanding than their parents' schedules. They are easily bored and have minimal loyalty, so keeping them in your company requires that you keep them motivated and busy. They also tend to be entrepreneurial, so give them opportunities to plan, build and experiment with new methods.

Because of the vast numbers of Millennials in the workforce, getting and keeping them will be critical to a company's success. Though managing them may be a challenge, not managing them effectively could be a disaster.

As with the other groups, the key to managing Millennials is to understand their context and respond to it. Don't expect them to become Boomers or Matures. They won't. Engage them, give them consistent feedback and direction, take advantage of their energy levels and entrepreneurial attitudes, and watch them blossom.

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