Millennials−Are You Ready?

cattle-with-barnI was one of the last baby boomers (missed the 1950’s by 28 days) and all of my four boys will end up being known as the Millennial generation. Many of these will end up being your employees and the type of compensation and feedback that works for us does not work for them.

Chris Howard, Ph. D at the University of Oklahoma provides insight into how to interact with this generation. Some characteristics of this generation are:

  • Taught to question authority at a young age.
  • Saw lifelong employment end.
  • Have no shared heroes–heroes are personal such as friends known to them.
  • Question the sacrifices that Boomers have made to achieve their success.
  • They are latch-key kids and raised as their parent’s “friends.”
  • In thinking, they are independent, poor team players and great entrepreneurs.
  • Have an attitude of prove it to me.

I can tell you all four of my boys have most if not all of these characteristics.

Dr. Howard also indicated that Millennials are:

  • Generally optimistic.
  • Hi-tech with electronically inclined communication and entertainment (my son’s cell phone at 2,600 text messages in one month).
  • Individualistic, yet team oriented.
  • Difficult for them to focus on “non-stimulating stuff” it’s DVD over books.
  • New types of friendships with parents–parents catered to their wishes and did the most possible for their Millennial kids.
  • Ambitious yet may appear clueless–once they accomplish a task they “expect gold medals for showing up,” but they are highly confident in their ability.
  • They are “needy.”

We need to understand this generation to work effectively with them. We need to understand that they are not wrong, but simply different and the goals that worked for our generation do not apply to them.

The quicker that you grasp and promote this, the better your employer/employee relationship with Millennials will be.

  • Principal
  • CliftonLarsonAllen
  • Yakima, Washington
  • 509-823-2920

Paul Neiffer is a certified public accountant and business advisor specializing in income taxation, accounting services, and succession planning for farmers and agribusiness processors. Paul is a principal with CliftonLarsonAllen in Yakima, Washington, as well as a regular speaker at national conferences and contributor at Raised on a farm in central Washington, he has been immersed in the ag industry his entire life, including the last 30 years professionally. In fact, Paul drives combine each summer for his cousins and that is what he considers a vacation. Leave a comment for Paul. If you would like to leave a comment for Paul, follow the link above, however, please make sure to include your email address so that he can reply to your comment (your email address will not automatically show up).

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