Posts Tagged ‘Millennials’

For Millennials, Lack of Loyalty May Be a Sign of Neglect

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

The prevailing wisdom is that, in general, Millennials express little loyalty to their current employers and many are planning near-term exits. During the next year, if given the choice, 25% of Millennials would quit his or her current employer to join a new organization or to do something different. That figure increases to 44 % when the time frame is expanded to two years. (Source: Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey)

This “loyalty challenge” is driven by a variety of factors, for example:

  1. Millennials feel underutilized and believe they’re not being developed as leaders.
  2. Millennials feel that most businesses have no ambition beyond profit, and there are distinct differences in what they believe the purpose of business should be and what they perceive it to currently be.
  3. Millennials often put their personal values ahead of organizational goals, and several have shunned
    assignments (and potential employers) that conflict with their beliefs.

Millennials have recently inched past the other generations to corner the largest share of the US labor market and a growing number now occupy senior positions. They are no longer leaders of tomorrow, but increasingly, leaders of today. We also recognize that Millennials are taking their values with them into the boardroom.

While many Millennials have already attained senior positions, much remains to be done. More than six in
ten Millennials (63 %) say their “leadership skills are not being fully developed.” Unfortunately, little progress is being made in this area. When asked to rate the skills and attributes on which businesses place the most value (and are prepared to pay the highest salaries), Millennials pointed to “leadership” as being the most prized.

Millennials fully appreciate that leadership skills are important to business and recognize that, in this respect, their development may be far from complete. But, based on the current results, Millennials believe businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap to ensure a new generation of business leaders is created. Need help with workforce strategy and planning? CAI can help!

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations. 

How to Retain Millennials

Monday, December 26th, 2016

It’s hard to think of an important aspect of management that is more neglected than individual development planning. As a consequence, companies typically pay the high price in the form of the loss of top young talent.

A Harvard Business Review article, “Why Top Young Managers Are in a Nonstop Job Hunt” conducted an analysis of young high achievers and concluded that many of the best and the brightest are not receiving the career development support they desire.

The article stated, “Dissatisfaction with some employee-development efforts appears to fuel many early exits.  We asked young managers what their employers do to help them grow in their jobs and what they’d like their employers to do, and found some large gaps.  Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility.   But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring and coaching – things they also value highly.”

There are two primary reasons that companies neglect the individual development process:

1. We tend to focus most on the here and now

Managers naturally tend to be most focused on essential day-to-day operations and less interested in longer-term activities perceived as having less immediate payback.

2. There’s just no time for it

This is another poor excuse.  There’s always time for important activities.  If you believe that development planning is a valuable managerial function, HR must make it a priority and create an expectation that ‘building talent’ is an obligation for all leaders.

Here is why development planning makes good business sense:

1. People care if you take a genuine interest in their future 

Development planning should be something a manager takes a real personal interest in – not an HR-driven mandate.

2. It helps builds loyalty, and loyalty increases productivity

Taking an honest interest in someone builds loyalty.  Employees feel as though the company is investing in them. Loyal employees are more engaged, and engaged employees are more productive. Talented people naturally want to advance, and appreciate the support in the process.

3. Capable ambitious young employees want training, mentoring and coaching

They want to gain skills.  They want to become more versatile and valuable to an organization. If your company doesn’t provide it, enterprising employees will go elsewhere for it.

Key HR Action takeaway:  Development planning doesn’t have to be elaborate or costly.  At its core it’s mostly a matter of good managers taking the person-to-person time to understand their employees, recognizing their skills and opportunities, and documenting them in an agreed-upon Individual Development Plan.

If you’re struggling with creating effective Individual Development Plans CAI can help.

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

Understanding Your Younger Employees

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Company leaders often complain about the unrealistic expectations of their millennial workers. Today’s youth, a.k.a. ‘millennials’— are said to be:Multiethnic Group of People Social Networking at Cafe

  1. difficult to manage
  2. likely to quit at a moment’s notice
  3. careless (i.e. they make needless mistakes as they forge ahead blindly without permission)

The youngest generation does differ from the older ones. But this has always been true.

Leaders within the organization should see how questions and challenges (i.e. Why does it have to be this way?) from their youngest employees can spark action to help their companies change for the better. In the process of listening, leaders will soon realize that young people want the same things we all do. Remember, millennials are vitally important to fill the void left by aging baby boomers and Gen Xers.

Keep in mind that many millennials continue to bear the burden of tens of thousands of dollars in student-loan debt. The debt has understandably influenced their decisions to join or leave companies.

Actions HR leaders can take to help create a better employer-employee relationship with millennials:

  1. Build bridges with data. Utilize people analytics to understand your youngest employees better. Gather data to track tenure, movement, performance evaluations, and attrition, as well as qualitative data to gauge engagement and find ways of increasing it. Share the results with middle managers so that they can connect the dots and tailor their management approach accordingly.
  2. Over communicate clarity. All employees are eager to hear from top management. However, younger employees expect this to happen at hyper speed. They are looking for real-time, two-way communication that allows input from everyone, followed by fairly immediate action. HR can help address this need by creating feedback platforms which allow employees to ask questions about specific topics and to engage on follow-up feedback requested by supervisors or senior management. This approach provides unprecedented visibility into issues and solutions and facilitates continuous improvement.
  3. Develop a culture of mentorship. Most young people thrive on collaborative work and support from colleagues. Meaningful personal relationships are crucial to help employers to hang on to their young workers.  Best practice is to partner new employees with an assigned sponsor who helps them to navigate the culture. Also encourage your new employees to reach out and form other mentoring relationships.
  4. Focus on professional growth. The ‘younger generation’ has grown up watching entrepreneurs reach the height of success before age 30, taking on responsibilities usually reserved for older executives. Many young professionals want a chance to flex their entrepreneurial muscles. They can quickly become frustrated by the lack of advancement opportunity in today’s flat organizational structures. Any kind of movement that promotes professional development is a plus (i.e. temporary projects over and above the day job). Additionally, young workers are typically energized by rotational programs. Other opportunities may include exposure to senior leaders, cross-functional work, and community service—elements that millennials value highly.

Every workplace has questions that need to be answered, and the sooner the better. Reach out to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team to get your questions answered today!



Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Managing a Multigenerational Workforce

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

“Never in history has a workforce had four generations working together —until now.”

                –Dr. Kevin Snyder, 2015 Compensation & Benefits Conference

Diverse business group meetingSo who are these four generations working so closely together? In most offices, you will find the:

  • Matures- born from 1925 to 1946
  • Baby Boomers- born from 1946 to 1964
  • Generation Xers- born from 1965 to 1980
  • Generation Yers or ‘Millennials’- born from 1981 to late 1990s

Each generation comes with their unique set of stereotypes and stigmas. While the Matures are seen as loyal but lousy with technology, the Millennial crew seem to attract the opposite perception. While many of these stereotypes are exaggerated, it is undoubtedly true that each generation possesses a distinct set of characteristics from one another.

For many managers, this could sounds like a bit of a headache. After all, who wants a bunch of groups with differing ideas, schedules, and motivations working together? It may sound like a nightmare, but it could actually be an advantage if these differences of habits are leveraged correctly.

To effectively manage your workplace, follow these Do’s and Don’ts  to ensure the generations are working in tandem, and not against, one another.

Do know what each generation is looking for

Knowing your audience is a huge key to success. By understanding what each generation is looking for in a job, you can better manage their expectations and vastly improve their career contentment. Conduct surveys that poll your employees on what they find most rewarding about work. If you find that a large share of your Millennial employees are looking for a strong work culture, organize team lunches or wellness activities for them to take part in. If you find that many of your Mature employees desire one-on-one guidance, try to give them the extra personal attention that fulfills them. With a greater understanding of what makes each generation tick, you will be creating a more engaged, dynamic and productive workplace.

Don’t encourage generational separation

We all enjoy talking to someone we have a lot in common with, and shared age is a great and easy way to bond with a fellow employee. While many employees seem to naturally bond with coworkers of similar ages, it is important to discourage any extreme separation based around age in the office. By combining the varying tastes, attitudes and experiences of the multiple generations at your disposal, you will be fostering a healthy and collaborative dialogue between your employees. Though there is always a potential for conflict, your business would be missing out on the greater potential for new and dynamic teamwork by keeping the generations from working together.

Do recognize their varying strengths

Maybe you have a Millennial employee who’s great with technology, but not so effective when it comes to face-to-face interactions. Or the opposite situation could be true of a Boomer who thrives in personal interactions with others, but understandably lags behind in the tech department. Rather than spreading your employees too thin and expecting the Millennial and Boomer to become well-versed in their respective areas of weakness, recognize their independent strengths and leverage them together. If that means having the Millennial put together the PowerPoint and the Boomer giving the presentation, so be it. By appealing to each of the generation’s strengths, and not holding them hostage to their weaknesses, you will be doing your business and your employees a huge favor.

Don’t assume the generational stereotypes

As we said above, many of the generations possess differing ideals, skills and habits from one another. While it is important to recognize and leverage these varying strengths when you can identify them, do not assume that an employee will lack a certain skill or experience simply because it is not usually ascribed to their generation. By pigeonholing your employees to certain spheres along generational lines, you could be wasting heaps of potential. Be open-minded about each generation, and allow their strengths and experiences to present themselves in due course rather than forcing them into a box in which they may not belong.

If you would like to further discuss how you can more effectively manage a multigenerational workplace, please call our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Keep Millennial Employee Retention Rates High With These 3 Tips

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Portrait of three office workers.It’s no secret that Millennials are causing some employers to rethink their views on employee relations and engagement. Growing up with the advent of technology and social media has exposed them to far more corners of the globe than any other generation in history. With the ability to access varying cultures, peoples, and places so readily available throughout their lives, Millennials are not nearly as content as older generations to stay put in one place for an extended period of time.

With Millennials expected to make up nearly half of the nation’s workforce by 2020, it is imperative for HR professionals to develop strategies to mitigate some of this restless energy and improve retention for Millennial employees. Though there is no foolproof plan to keeping Millennials from job hopping, following these simple steps may entice the Gen Y’ers to stick around the office for a little while longer:

  1. Create a flexible work environment

Some say the 9-to-5 is dead. It’s not, but it may need a little tweaking. As we said earlier, Millennials have been shaped by technology.  For this generation, going to a library to retrieve an encyclopedia or a computer lab to write a paper was unnecessary: all the information needed to complete a task was right at their fingertips. This same trend holds true in the office.  Many Millennials simply don’t understand the need to spend hours at a desk every day when they feel they could accomplish just as much in less time working remotely.

While it is important to be in the office, meet the Millennials halfway. Perhaps allow them a day each week to work from home. Remember: everyone’s work habits are different, and there is no one-size-fits-all work model. By recognizing the need for Millennials to work in a flexible environment, you will be creating a space that can adapt to meet their needs and greatly improve their career contentment.

  1. Give them purpose

Having grown up with expanding access to travel, film, the Internet and other media, Millennials are constantly striving to leave their own unique footprint in an increasingly automated, programmed world. In fact, nearly three out of four students polled in a survey considered having “a job where I can make an impact” to be essential to their happiness, as opposed to roughly half of workers. In other words, Millennials measure much of their work fulfillment in relation to the perceived positive impact it has having on the world around them.

Show leadership to your Millennial employees by clearly stating the company’s vision or goals, and what duties or skills they can use to help the company achieve this end. By making Millennials aware of the stakes they have in the organization’s success, they will find fulfillment in their work that could vastly strengthen their satisfaction and loyalty to your organization.

  1. Put together clear expectations of career advancement

Growing up alongside the technology boom, Millennials have always been inclined to look toward the future. When it comes to their careers, this is no exception. Millennials are a competitive crew, so putting clear incentives on the table for possible career advancement will motivate them to put their best work forward and settle in for the long haul. What Millennials may lack in terms of professional experience they more than make up for in enthusiasm and drive. Lay out exactly what’s expected of them in order to advance, and watch them rise to the occasion.

Try to be as transparent as possible about how and when their hard work will be rewarded in the form of promotions, raises, etc. Businesses that invest time and resources into their Millennial employees will earn this generation’s continued loyalty, drive, and unique vision.

If you would like to further discuss how you can improve your company’s retention of Millennial employees, please call our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

How Millennials Are Changing the Workforce

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

The following post is from Dr. Kevin Snyder. A speaker, author and millennial consultant, Kevin has a passion for sharing information on employee engagement. He is sharing his presentation Engaging the New Frontier: How Millennials Are Changing the Workforce at the 2015 HR Management Conference on March 4 and March 5 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh.

Portrait of three office workers.Millennials. Millennials. Millennials.

When you think about that term, what comes to mind? Depending on your age, your primary news and media source or what type of music you listen to, your answer will most likely vary.

Who are the Millennials? Quite simply, Millennials are those individuals born between the early 1980’s and early 2000’s. They are also called young professionals, Generation Y and Digital Natives who have grown up and been influenced in an extremely unique era – technology, 9/11, the Great Recession, unemployment, social justice, etc. Like every generation that has preceded them, they are unique to the culture, environment and defining moments in which they were born. It should be no surprise then that they will communicate and lead in different ways.

If your age is between 20 and 35, you’re a Millennial. If not, you likely have a Millennial child. If neither of these apply, you most definitely have Millennials in your office or within an organization you are involved. Millennials are both the college graduates passionately seeking work and they are also the 35 year-old mother of 3 who is a Director of Human Resources.

Millennials have been called many things – some accurate and some not. Some of the hype is designed to be controversial and sell magazines while some of it is utilized to foster positive discourse. Regardless, Millennials are a hot topic and understandably so. In 2015 they surpassed the Baby Boomers to officially become the generational majority. They now comprise the largest demographic in the workforce and their percentage continues to grow daily.

I have had the privilege of working in Student Affairs at several institutions for over 15 years. I have served as a Dean of Students and spoken for over 300 colleges and universities in all 50 states. During these visits, I have led hundreds of conversations, focus groups and surveys with Millennials asking questions about their goals, expectations and passions. What I have read and heard about Millennials in the media and near many organizational water coolers does not mirror my direct personal experiences. My passion for this topic sources from a desire to bridge the evident gap not just in the media but also in the workforce. How we speak about Millennials and our future generation is also how we are leading them now.

Why does this matter for you?

No matter what your business, organization or industry, Millennials are the future so it is beyond imperative to understand and be proactive about how to attract, engage and retain them in your organization. Your future success is influenced by learning about Millennials, how to embrace their creative strengths and how to make the most out from their involvement. In many organizations, they already hold high leadership roles and might even be your boss. That’s important. How Millennial-friendly is your organization?

Some organizations are getting it right and already reaping the rewards of engaged leadership and generational proactivity. Others are still living in the past, waiting for the cheese to reappear. Soon, those latter individuals and groups will ask themselves, “What happened? Who moved my cheese?” If you have read the popular book, “Who Moved My Cheese,” you already know the answer to that question.

There are important things every employer and organizational leader needs to know about Millennials to survive and thrive in the coming years. Understanding the characteristics and desires of Millennials will make a positive impact through corporate organizations, associations, churches, colleges and beyond. It does not have to be rocket science. Rather, it just needs to be intentional.

Join me at CAI’s HR Management Conference on March 4th and 5th where we will be having an interactive and enlightening conversation about Millennials. I’ll be presenting a session on Millennials and how to engage this powerfully unique generation in the workforce.

Find more information about Kevin at


Medical Care is not a Priority to Millennials

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

millennials workMillennials put a lower priority on medical care than other generations according to a new analysis from Aon Hewitt. However, this generation is also more likely to want their employers to play a strong role in supporting their overall health and wellbeing. The data comes from the 2014 Consumer Health Mindset report from Aon Hewitt, the National Business Group on Health, and the Futures Company. Participants included 2,700 U.S. employees and their dependents. The joint survey analyzed the health and wellness perspectives, behaviors and attitudes of employees from different generations.

The survey showed that Millennials are the least likely of the generations to participate in activities focused on prevention and maintaining or improving physical health. Some specifics of that data included 54 percent of them had a physical in the last 12 months, compared to 60 percent of Generation X and 73 percent of Baby Boomers. Additionally, only 39 percent say preventive care is one of the most important things to do to stay healthy in comparison to 49 percent of Generation X and 69 percent of Baby Boomers.

With only 21 percent participating, this group is also not as likely to participate in healthy eating/weight management programs, compared to 23 percent of Generation X and 28 percent of Baby Boomers.  However, 63 percent of Millennials are likely to engage in regular exercise, compared to 52 percent of Generation X and 49 percent of Baby Boomers.

“Given their younger age, most Millennials are relatively healthy, so they may not feel a sense of urgency to go to the doctor regularly or eat a well-balanced diet,” said Ray Baumruk, employee research leader at Aon Hewitt. “However, the lack of health prevention and maintenance when they’re young may lead to greater health risks as they get older. Employers should communicate the importance of participating in health related activities now to avoid serious health issues later in life.”

While they do not feel an urgent sense of preventative care, the data shows that Millennials are the most likely to embrace support from employers in their overall health and wellbeing compared to other generations. Fifty-two percent of participants from this generation say “living or working in a healthy environment” influences their personal health, while only 42 percent of Generation X and 35 percent of Baby Boomers feel the same way.

If you want to help your Millennials reach their fitness and overall health goals, while also making them aware of the importance of prevention and improving their health, Aon Hewitt experts suggests the following steps for employers:

  • Understand motivation. It’s important for employers to understand what motivates and engages this group. Fifty-five percent of Millennials report their motivation is “to look good,” and not as much to “avoid illness.” Employers should modify their strategy and communications to show how poor health can impact an individual’s energy and appearance.
  • Reach your audience correctly. Millennials are significantly more likely to prefer mobile apps, text, or popular social channels, such as Facebook and Twitter to access both general and personal health information. Organizations should also take advantage of apps and mobile-friendly websites to help engage employees in health and wellness campaigns.
  • Easy and convenient is key. Forty percent of Millennials say they are more likely to participate in health and wellness programs if they are “easy or convenient to do.” Employers should remove barriers to helping this generation create good health choices and habits by focusing on programs that meet their work/life balance.
  • Competition for fun. Millennials are the generation most likely to be interested in “friendly competitions.” Employers may want to explore ways they can include competitions to motivate and engage Millennials, such as company-wide well-being or fitness challenges.

For additional tips to help keep your Millennial staff engaged, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: ITU Pictures

Survey Reveals Women and Millennials in Leadership Yield Greater Company Success

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

women leadersMost companies strive to create a work environment that embraces diversity. Differences in age, gender and other characteristics benefit companies in numerous ways, such as various perspectives for problem solving or creating new business opportunities.

New research from DDI and The Conference Board highlights a critical difference between the top and bottom corporate financial performers—companies with more women in leadership roles perform better. Another finding from the survey indicates that millennials in leadership roles can also impact business success positively.

The Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) 2014/2015, Ready-Now Leaders: Meeting Tomorrow’s  Business Challenges is the seventh edition of the annual report that DDI has put together since beginning this research in 1999. This year’s report includes responses from 13,124 global leaders and 1,528 human resources executives within 2,031 organizations. Survey results represent 48 countries and 32 major industries.

Here are some insights the survey revealed:

  • Men and woman are equally competent workers. However, men tend to portray themselves as more effective leaders overall than woman do.
  • In comparison to men, women are not as likely to rate themselves as highly-effective leaders.
  • Women are also less likely than men to have completed international assignments, led across geographies or countries or teams spread out geographically.
  • Of the participating organizations, those in the top 20 percent of financial performance have 37 percent of their leaders as women and 12 percent of their leaders are high-potential women.
  • Organizations in the bottom 20 percent count only 19 percent of their leaders as women, and 8 percent of their leaders as high-potential women.
  • An organization’s rate of growth is directly linked to the number of millennials in leadership roles.
  • Companies that were more financially successful were also more likely to have a higher percentage of millennial leaders.

“To improve business outcomes, bolster current development programs so that all leaders, including women and millennials, can improve their skills,” said Evan Sinar, Ph.D., DDI Chief Scientist, Center for Analytics and Behavioral Research (CABER) Director and study co-author. “Development opportunities build confidence. Provide opportunities for stretch assignments, ensure formal practices are in place to facilitate those opportunities and fully-commit your support to mentoring programs to develop and prepare new leaders.”

Receive full access to the report on DDI’s website here.




The Me Generation

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

In today’s video blog, CAI’s Vice President of Membership, Doug Blizzard, tackles the topic of different generations working together. Doug says he is not crazy about how generational issues in the workplace are being reported and presented.

His beef with generational analysis is that the results tend to broadly characterize members of one generation possessing the same characteristics, and this can lead to helpful and harmful stereotypes.

Doug gives an example of a typical stereotype for Millennials—members of this generation want to work how, when and where they want, but lack loyalty and communication skills.  He says this generational phenomenon is not a new thing. This isn’t the first time a younger generation has challenged the status quo, and in the video, he lists several examples.

Doug wants employers to be mindful that there are as many differences in attitudes, values, behaviors and lifestyles within a generation as there are between generations. He advises managers to be careful to not write off an entire generation due to general characteristics they hear.  Doug says that employees, regardless of generation, should be managed in a respectful and supportive manner to maximize their possibility of achieving success.

Employees of all generations look to their company leaders to set the values and beliefs that drive the company. Doug says your company values should be developed independent of any particular generation. Instead of catering to a specific generation, define the characteristics that you find important in an employee and find people of all generations, cultures, ethnicities and so on who have those characteristics. People are attracted to a clear vision and clear values regardless of their age.

If you have questions about managing different generations at your workplace, please call CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.