By: Chip Espinoza, Co-author of Managing the Millennials: Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today’s Workforce
Commercials characterize them, cartoonists poke fun at them, researchers study them, marketers target them, and managers scrutinize them. While the Baby Boomers and GenX’ers have a case of attention envy, Millennials don’t seem to be fazed. Not only are they not put-off, they are amused.
When my colleagues and I wrote Managing the Millennials: Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today’s Workforce our aim was to demystify the challenges managers face with younger workers. It caught me by surprise when forward-thinking MaryAnn Baumgarten of Microsoft and Ron Weber of Schneider Electric called me to talk about making a presentation on how managers perceive working with younger workers––to an audience of their younger workers.
I had spoken to thousands of managers who related to my message, but I was not sure how the Millennials would respond. I was used to affable audiences filled with laughter and affirming nods. Would my new audience wince and roll their eyes or worse just play on their smart phones? Just think about it… “Hello, my name is Chip Espinoza and I am here to tell you that managers perceive your generation to be entitled, self-absorbed, defensive, abrasive, yada-yada-yada.” Yikes.
Microsoft decided to add my topic into what they call their Microsoft Academy for College Hires (MACH) Capstone program. I presented one session of a five-day event offering a variety of topics. I was blown away when MaryAnn sent me the participant evaluations. A question on it reads, “Please provide your level of agreement with the session CONTENT providing value to your personal and professional development.” My topic received the highest score. I know it was the topic because I failed to get the highest presenter score. Perhaps that is because I am the idiot who took a MacBook Pro to Microsoft to make a presentation. Don’t think for a minute that my Millennial audience let it slide.
At Red Tree, we have now fully developed the topic into a training program entitled Millennials@Work. I have had the privilege of presenting to audiences of Millennials around the world and I never cease to be amazed at the receptivity, level of engagement, and-post event remarks like these:
“Even though his topic was about our generation, I feel like it was very eye-opening to hear perceptions that older generations have toward us and to learn how I can work with my co-workers more effectively.”
“Spoke directly to me as I see generational problems that face us on a daily basis at work. This has changed how I approach my relationships with older co-workers, and I have found that I don’t get as frustrated because I now know that they do not understand where I am coming from.”comments powered by Disqus