Adapting to the Incoming Generations Is a Must

by | Sep 26, 2019 | Business Risk, Employee Commitment, FB Risk Advisor, Human Resources


When I entered the workforce 10 years ago, every business was concerned with survival.   “The Great Recession” struck hard and the future of sales and profitability for many industries was extremely concerning.  We were all caught completely by surprise and suffered some very tough years as a result.  Hopefully, reading this now, you not only survived but have likely emerged stronger with new processes, solid growth, and increased technology to be better equipped than we were before.  Congratulations!

Here’s the problem: we are on the verge of another significant challenge.  In fact, the forthcoming “Talent War” will likely impact businesses more than the economic recession did a decade ago.  Many companies have become complacent with steady growth and have not properly considered the looming problem which will absolutely stop them in their tracks.

Fortunately, there is hope.  For over 60 years, psychologists have been studying how people work and there are proven methods to create teams which produce higher sales, profitability, and engagement.  This new management philosophy is the key to winning the war.  Only you can decide if you will make the preparations in your business now or wait until we are fully entrenched and in crisis mode.

So, what needs to happen?  We need to commit to the idea that information is everywhere, technology is affordable, and adaption is too fast to maintain any type of traditional competitive advantage for long.  The only real sustainable advantage companies can have today is the ability to attract, grow, and retain the talent of its people.


We also need to understand that everything we’ve ever learned about management is probably wrong. Traditional ideas were fine for about 200 years from the start of the industrial revolution in 1815 until today, but millennials are changing the game.  For the first time ever, there are more jobs than people and those of us born between 1980 and 1996 have the leverage to dictate what we are seeking in a job.  By 2025, millennials will represent 75% of the workforce.  The companies that adapt to what the new generation seeks in a job will thrive, and those that don’t will not have enough employees to remain in business.

Here is the answer key.  The battle plan.  The path forward.  The companies that execute these six shifts in thinking will win.  The Gallup Organization has polled thousands of people to determine what they have called the “Big Six”:

My Paycheck to My Purpose: Baby Boomers were content to work their job and grateful for the opportunity to earn money to provide for their family.  For millennials, a paycheck isn’t enough.  While pay should be fair and remains an important consideration, the overall driver in a job for millennials is understanding how what they do every day relates to their overall purpose in life.  Leaders need to help employees understand how their role relates to the bigger picture.

Image result for millennialsMy Satisfaction to My Development: We’ve all seen the workplaces that are built to keep employees happy.  Beer on tap, fancy coffee machines, pool tables, doggy daycare, and expensive furniture abound at tech companies.  You can save your money – millennials don’t care about these perks.  In fact, providing them is not only condescending, it breeds entitlement.  The next generation wants to know how they’ll develop professionally and personally.  What educational opportunities exist?  How can I get to the next level?  Providing a development path is the number one consideration millennials report in looking for a job.  Leaders who create real development opportunities will attract and retain employees.

My Boss to My Coach: Millennials have grown up supported by coaches and mentors helping guide them throughout their life.  This preference doesn’t disappear in the workplace.  Passing down directives as a boss in the old style of “command and control” will drive away the next generation of workers.  Leaders need to emulate the best practices of coaches seen in sports: frequent feedback, adapting players to the positions which leverage their strengths, and consistent improvement.

My Annual Review to My Ongoing Conversations: Annual reviews are a complete waste of time.  Only 14% of employees report even feeling inspired by their annual performance review and it is ridiculous to believe that a single conversation could possibly improve performance for a whole year.  Millennials are accustomed to 24/7 continuous conversation and leaders need to connect with them in that manner.  Technology has made this easier than ever and consistent communication provides development opportunities to get the best of employees.

Related imageMy Weaknesses to My Strengths: Nobody likes talking about what they do poorly, and everyone has talent.  Leaders need to help employees discover what they naturally do great and put them in a position to do it daily in their job.  When strengths are developed and leveraged, employees put in more discretionary effort and produce more.  Strengths-based teams report 19% higher sales and 29% higher profitability over traditional work teams.  There is simply no greater return on investment that exists in business.

My Job to My Life: The idea of a “work-life balance” is a myth.  We are all connected all the time and instantaneous response has become a requirement to do business.  Millennials understand this more than any other generation and as such seek “work-life integration”.  We need to understand how our job is part of our life, how what we do contributes to organization and our purpose, and how fulfilled we feel doing whatever we do every day.  Leaders that connect these dots for employees will attract and retain the top talent.

If you would like help in this process, I’d be happy to discuss with you the solutions in coaching, speaking, and training that I offer.  Feel free to check out my website at, email me at, or reach out to me on my cell at (805) 340-9311.



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