These days I’m hearing more and more complaints about Millennials. ”They’re lazy,” “They can’t solve problems on their own,” “They’re so entitled” — you name it and someone’s got a gripe.
Sadly, it seems “Millennial-bashing” has become the obsession du jour for some circles in higher ed. And I have to say it’s getting a little old.
True, my jaded Gen-X cusper status makes me an unlikely defender of these close-in-age-but-miles-away-in-mindset peers of mine. But I’d argue there’s not much to be gained from ragging on a generation that will most likely rule the world someday — if not by deservedness then by sheer numbers alone.
From my point of view, we’d be better off spending our time seeking ways to let our differences work for us — exposing the hidden talents and unexpected contributions of our youngest team members.
So in the spirit of understanding, I’d like to offer some tips that could just help you achieve generational nirvana in your office.
They come to us care of Dr. Bruce Robertson, an associate professor of marketing at San Francisco State University, who has published much on the topic. In his recent blog post entitled “Selling ‘Selling’ to Millennials,” Dr. Robertson offers some insights and advice on managing Millennials, particularly those in “sales” roles (not unlike what admissions counselors do).
Here are some notable quotes and key takeaways from the post (paraphrased for brevity):
“Millennials work by multitasking and in real time. They prefer e-communication and want continuous exposure to challenges and interesting people.”
“One of the big differences between Millennials and those who would hire them is that they are looking for meaning in their work, as well as financial reward.”
“Millennials consider meaningful work, high pay and a sense of accomplishment as keys to a successful career.”
“When talking about a career opportunity, focus on the benefit that your product provides.”
“They are accustomed to intuitive user interfaces like video games — so they can be impatient with information systems that are difficult to use.“
“Have clear guidelines about the business use of social networks. They should be loose enough to recognize the value Millennials bring to the table but make it clear that there are implications to what they share.”
“Training programs need to be online and engaging. Also, it may be time to upgrade the CRM interface.“
Given what you heard above, I’d challenge you to take a hard look at your operation. Ask yourself: Are we set up for success? Do we need to adjust our roles, our structure — even the systems we use? What needs to change about the way we attract, train and develop new personnel?
My friends, I hope that you’ll hear my call to move on from Millennial-bashing and embrace the next generation of higher education professionals.
Adrienne Hamson is the Vice President of Marketing at TargetX and frequently assists with sales and generational training for admissions professionals.
On November 16, SFSU will host a panel of accomplished business leaders, who will discuss the challenges of recruiting, training, and retaining Millennials in the sales profession. (http://cob.sfsu.edu/cob/marketing/millenials.cfm)
Read more about our authors. To change this standard text, you have to enter some information about your self in the Dashboard -> Users -> Your Profile box.