Leadership / Management | Training & CPE

Here come the millennials … run for your lives!

Scared You'd think the world was ending with all the talk of the impending millennial takeover of the workplace.

A couple of reassuring voices, though, might convince us to come up out the bunker.

First, there's this Financial Post article, in which author Ray Williams argues that our workforce's youngest employees are not whiners or complainers. Nor do they come with an overactive sense of entitlement.

"In reality, Gen Y demands only that the workplace reflect their values -- personal growth, work that is meaningful and family first," Williams writes. "They are hard workers and want to have work that is challenging."

I always bristle a little when I hear people lump entire generations into descriptive silos. Gen Y -- like Gen X and the boomers -- is made up of individuals, and each individual is unique. Applying the same labels to each individual is a recipe for disaster.

Still, it's refreshing to hear someone challenge the common (and unflattering) millennial stereotypes.

Next, there's Alexandra DeFelice, a senior editor at the Journal of Accountancy. DeFelice, who earlier helped launch Accounting Tomorrow to address generational issues in the world of accounting, said millennials simply are more at ease in speaking their minds. Used liberally across all generations, that type of open communication could help smooth over a lot of rough spots.

"I'm hearing a lot of people segregate themselves by saying, 'Kids these days ...' or 'These old guys ...' If everyone could communicate by saying, 'This is what I want and this is how I work better,' I think that could create the best (work) environment," she said.

DeFelice offered more views on generational issues during a session at the 2009 Maryland Business and Accounting Expo. Watch a brief interview with her at the Expo:

Are the generations getting along in your office?


Bill Sheridan