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written by Mick Ukleja

Tips for Managers of Millennials

(News Alert!! Training Beats Bonuses)

The job market, at first glance, looks anything but encouraging. On the surface there seems to be a dwindling supply of jobs. That’s the feeling we get. And it is true that one-third of the 2011 college grads according to one survey (Adecco Group)*, live at home with their parents. They also report that as of the 2011 graduation, only 57 percent were working full-time. Of course it didn’t help to discover that 55 percent had applied to five or fewer jobs since being handed their diploma.

Remember that the survey, with its dismal job report, was from the perspective of 500 Millennials ages 22-26.

Now let’s go to the top and ask the CEOs. That’s exactly what PricewaterhouseCoopers did (2011 Global CEO Survey).** 1201 Companies were surveyed painting a complete picture of the CEO’s focal points. The majority of them saw tremendous challenges in recruiting and retaining younger employees—Millennials.

Managing talent, for these CEOs, is back at the top of the agenda. When asked where they expected changes to their organizational model to be over the next twelve months, at the very top was “strategies for managing talent.” In fact, 83 percent of them were anticipating change in how they manage people. They are telling us that the talent race is back on.

Considering the talent required for success of their businesses over the next three years, what were the key challenges they were facing? They include things like “recruiting and integrating younger staffers”, “competitors recruiting some of your best people”, “providing attractive career paths”, and “retirement of older workers.”

The companies most upbeat about job growth were in Asia-Pacific and South America—at the top—but US and European companies were not far behind.

So, looking past the foggy malaise and at the data, shortages of the right people in the right places are at the top of the list for leaders. And right along with that is the need for managers that can recruit, train, and retain this young talent.

That being said, what is driving this new generation of workers? What are they actually demanding? If you guessed money, you just heard the buzzer. Wrong! You get the full picture from the PricewaterhouseCooper survey.

How are companies planning to change their people strategies over the next 12 months? At the top of the list of these 1200 companies (around 70 percent), “use more non-financial rewards to motivate staff.” Along with this a large percentage intended to “work to improve skills in the talent pool”, and “incentivize younger workers differently than others.” 66 percent of the CEOs feared that talent shortages would restrain their company’s growth.

This means that attracting and retaining the best Millennial workers is about organizational culture, on-going training, and coaching/mentoring. This was true whether the CEO doing the reporting was from China, India, Brazil, Europe, or the United States. It IS a global opinion.

The Millennial generation has grown up with the understanding that their relationship with the company probably won’t be life-long. So it’s not just a job with ladders to climb and pay raises to win. Yes, they want a sense of community. But it can’t stop there. They have a need for continual learning (which usually drops dramatically in most companies after six months). They have a need for growth opportunities.

The reason these seasoned and successful CEOs are emphasizing training is because of their recruit’s felt needs. Training and development as a benefit choice is three times higher than the choice of a cash bonus. Almost 100 percent of Millennials also feel that a good coach (a new managerial skill), is an integral part of their career development. It actually has an exponential effect. The more the talent is trained, the more productive the organization. This is not about catering to spoiled youth. This is about developing young talent.

One final tip as we manage the talent pool. Organizations need to get good at reading “job-hopper resumes.” Almost all Millennial resumes possess a job-hopping component. In order to separate high performers from low performers, do not get stuck at the job-hop cul-de-sac (which is French for “dead end”).

Look at the achievements they had at each job. Strong performers do impressive things before they leave a job. Low performers do nothing, yet both groups tend to change jobs at the same rate. One is making contributions and the other is staying ahead of the ax. So don’t over dose on the job-hopping. Take note and then move to performance.

The war for talent is growing. CEOs around the world are gearing up.

Are you ready?

(Mick Ukleja is the co-author of the book Managing the Millennials: Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today’s Workforce)

*We have partnered with Red Tree Leadership to deliver training in Managing The Millennials.

* www.ADECCO.com/en-US/pages/default.aspx
** www.pwc.com/gx/en/ceo-survey/index.jhtml

01.24.2012

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