New trends in the business world are generally interesting and, at times, worthy of consideration and adoption.
In most cases, there is always something to learn but I detest the concept and word… millennial. I believe most millennials do as well.
We don’t group or label other groups of team members by age. Why start now? The biggest problem with this label is it classifies these young team members and suggests they should be treated differently.
I disagree and will present my case for never using this word as you bring more and more young professionals into your employ.
I’m fifty-eight years young. That’s right. The final ten to fifteen years of my utmost productivity is upon me.
Should I be labeled as a grey hair? Old business guy? The youngest employees in the companies I’ve led were the last to label me. They were respectful and appreciative of any learning opportunities I could provide.
I don’t desire to be labeled and neither does anyone else. Every young professional is just that, a young professional.
Let me share just a few of the headlines I unearthed when searching online for “hiring millennials”:
“The ‘M’ word; Why I don’t hire millennials” & “Three Reasons Managers don’t Want To Hire Millennials” – Let me get this right… you will not hire any young professional because of a label? Wow! I’ve hired many amazing young business-people who, with quality mentoring, quickly developed into outstanding business leaders. Who would consider the silly notion of ignoring this group of people loaded with new ideas and creative thoughts… professionals so strong with technology they require far less training than ever before.
“Writing Job Descriptions for Millennials” – Hold on! We’re going to change our job descriptions for a group of people? Why? Perhaps we should not have job descriptions? I’m more partial to Job Docs but that is another subject for another blog. In the meantime, consider objectively the logic of changing a job description for new employees… could this possibly make any sense? No! It only serves to alienate these new team members.
Here are my recommendations to resolve this issue:
- Never ever use the “M-word” (millennial) again… ever. Never think of any employees as different than others based on age. Who cares how old anyone is? The shareholders want two things, more revenue and less cost. Young professionals are initially less expensive and they are loaded with skills and new ideas that can make you more profit. They are not different; they are priceless assuming you hire the best as you would from any other age group.
- Embrace their value. The greatest danger inherent to our time spent in the vast world of business is the loss of objectivity caused by time itself. Young professionals have a fresh approach to your problems. They have new ideas to move your company forward that likely were never considered before. Instead of labeling, fearing or avoiding this group, embrace them! Include them in your decision making process. Ask them for ideas to improve the employer/employee relationship. You will be surprised at how much they are just like you and how many valuable thoughts they bring to the table.
- Redefining loyalty – Have you read The Alliance by Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn Chairman), Ben Casnocha and Chris Yea? If not, please do and see my recent blog on my six favorite business books. Hoffman describes his philosophy that has made LinkedIn so strong. It’s all about transparency (honesty)… an open and honest relationship between employer and employee. If an employee is planning to start their own firm in a few years, you don’t resent their ambition; you offer to set up this final tour of duty to assist them in their preparation for entrepreneurship while empowering them to do their very best for your company – something that will feel natural to them partly because they appreciate the honesty and support. We can learn from both this book and the refreshing new outlook of these young professionals.
- Treat them the same – Young professionals want to accelerate within the ranks of your company… and so do all your leaders. Young professionals need to pay their bills and start saving for their children’s college… and so do/did the remainder of your team members. They are somewhat intimidated by older leaders… as we were as well and we all should be respectful of our elders anyway. Young professionals are just like the rest of us. There might be slight differences in their viewpoints but the basics are the same. There are great and not-so-great young professionals and there are great and not-so-great young professionals. Hire the great ones!
We should hire the best candidate for the position. It should not matter how old they are any more than it matters how tall they are. Forget the M-word and simply think of all potential team members as just that.
You will find these young professionals bring a wealth of amazing energy and advantage to your business and culture. I loved them like all of my teams and you will too if you aspire to greatness.
Embrace youth and build the future for your company!
I hope this lesson on young professionals has you thinking and you never use the M-word again. Best…
“When you’re green, you’re growing’ when you’re ripe, you’re rotten”