I read a great article in the Wall Street Journal this week: Decoding Millennials – For $20,000 an hour. Wow! Sounds like the Millennial dream job! Unfortunately Millennials need not apply; apparently in order to be a Millennial expert you have to not BE a Millennial.
Butt first the problem: the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s (referred to as Millennials as they came of age around 2000) now make up the largest single generational group in the workforce and big companies are scrambling to figure out how to make them happy. Remember when recent hires used to do the scrambling – you know, to make their employers happy? Seems quaint now.
Anyway, they’re retaining “millennial advisers” to help stem turnover, market to young people and ensure their happiness at work. To be a millennial advisor it helps if you are a certifiable Boomer like Mike & Morley , 72 and 73 respectively, or a near-Boomer like Lisa McLeod, 52, who typically charges companies up to $25,000 for a keynote address on the topic. Or you could also serve as a Millennial Whisperer if you’re a well seasoned Gen-Xer like Lindsey Pollak, 41. She’s often hired to teach employers what young people want:
First, they expect work to be meaningful. Second, they crave frequent feedback. Third, they despise voice mail.
Let me take a crack at this. First, they expect work to be “meaningful.” Of course they do; everything about their lives has to be meaningful, because it’s about them. And I guess moving out of mom and dad’s basement isn’t really meaningful enough. Second they crave feedback, butt only the positive kind. Please don’t bother to point out their deficiencies as that will make them feel bad and probably cry. And if it’s negative it probably involves some type of a microaggresion. which as we all know is forbidden. Third, voice mail? That is soooo 20th century! Technology has replaced old fashioned voice communication with the new modern text message. That’s called progress!
Did you know smart phones use the QWERTY keyboard first used on typewriters in 1874?
In order to meet the millennial needs she identified, Ms. McLeod shows companies how to set a “noble purpose” to make the youngsters feel that the paper-pushing they’re doing is meaningful.
For a concrete company seeking to boost employee engagement, she suggested that managers share stories of how constructing solid residential foundations helps people feel safe at home.
Knowing how Millennials revere their “safe spaces” doesn’t that strike you as pandering? If not downright trite? Butt here’s the part that earns McLeod the really big bucks:
She also advises clients to strip out numbers from internal presentations because, she says, millennials find stories more compelling than figures.
Well sure, stories are fun! Numbers are hard. Especially when your entire exposure to math has been through stories about “number bonds” rather than how to actually use basic arithmetic. And unless you can explain how profits and loss bond, you better stick with stories.
Actually managing Millennials isn’t that tough: sometimes it “boils down to letting them work fewer hours.” Accordingly, Red Robin management was advised:
…to let corporate employees set flexible schedules. The company now allows corporate employees to take Friday afternoons off, and banned Friday meetings, said Cathy Cooney, senior vice president and human-resources director
Insightful: “let them work less, and only when they feel like it.” Which is the type of advice that sounds like it could only have come from a Millennial. It does lend credence to the belief that the entire field of generational consulting is “a complete racket” – although that may be redundant as I think that’s actually the alternate dictionary definition of “consulting.” Nevertheless, U.S. organizations spent between $60 and $70 million on generational consulting last year. So be sure to update your LinkedIn account to list “millennial expert” or “millennial consultant” to your skills. The demand is still yuge for people who borrow your watch and tell you what time it is.
Anyway, I think this story is confirmation of the plight of the Millennials. First the Boomers took everything: all the clean air, clean water, oil, natural gas, big houses, big SUVs, the best jobs, all the wealth, Social Security – everything! They used it all up. Then the Gen-Xers swooped in to scarf up what few leftovers remained and now there is absolutely nothing left in the entire country for the Millennials. No wonder they’re so sad. And malleable.
No wonder the Obama-era Organizing for Action machine has been so successful getting them to sign on to support an old white socialist who promises money for nothing and your chicks for free.
Or maybe they should just visit one of Bernie’s real life model utopias today!
Cross-Posted on Patriot Action Network