The Leadership Gap

Although the age range may vary based on the study, the Millennial Generation represents a massive group of almost 80 million young people…born approximately between 1976 and 2001 (3).  

Why is this statistic significant?

Well consider the fact that by 2020 approximately 46% of the workforce will be Millenials, compared to only 16% of the workforce being Gen Xers (3). Further the Census Bureau projects that the Millennial population will peak at approximately 75 million (2). 

This is a significant number of individuals within the labor force that will need to find gainful employment. Not just gainful employment but meaningful employment that challenges them and causes them to want to grow with an organization. 

What this likely means to your business is that your previous understanding of the drivers, motivators, and characteristics of the Gen X generation likely will need to adjust when dealing with the Millennial. This will be important to ensure companies continue to progress and there is consistent growth and development of the next generation of leaders. So what made groups prior to the Millennial Generation so unique?

The Baby Boomers and Gen Xers followed a command-and-control management model… this means that independent work was respected and employees relied on management to provide career growth opportunities…basically you can classify previous Generations as linear with a very individualistic approach to their assigned duties (3).  When it came to technology use…Baby Boomers and Gen Xers did not feel significant pressure, to adapt to the latest widget or smart phone (3). 

So what are the unique competencies and characteristics that make the Millennial Generation different? 

Well for one…the Millennial’s see’s life as more circular and they have a more positive view of Millennials are also more adept at technology which should benefit companies when it comes to conducting research and even social media marketing (3). 

What is unique about Millennials is that they are ongoing learners, team players, synergistic, diverse, positive, accomplishment-centered, socially aware and highly educated (3). 

This puts the mandate on organizations to develop a culture that is a learning-culture in order to continue to appeal to the millennial generation. That mindset of being a learner also means that companies that can harness that achievement and success mindset, have an opportunity to truly build the value of their organization. 

Although there is a tremendous upside to having a millennial workforce there are some additional statistics that organizations need to be aware of…. 

According to Gallup Research millennials are the least engaged generation in the workforce with a 29% engagement level and 55% non-engagement level (1). What this means is organizations have a mandate to engage and develop millennials so that they can harness the unique abilities of the millennial. Failure to connect with the millennial worker, results in turnovers which has cost the U.S. economy approximately $30.5 billion annually (1). 

In a previous Deloitte Research poll there was an examination of millennial values. Statistics reveal that only 47% of individuals believe business leaders are focused on enhancing society, a drop of 15% from 2017 (1). So…companies that market themselves as socially-conscious stand a better chance of attracting top-level millennial talent.  

Another key statistic is that 69% of millennial workers believe their senior management teams are diverse and find their work environments motivating compared to 43% who don’t believe their leadership is diverse (1). 

What this means for organizations is that they need to build and recruit a senior management team that reflects a diversity aligned with the diversity in the world today. Diversity of senior management should also reflect innovative and varied perspectives in terms of business operations. Also, senior management should understand that millennials are looking to enhance their long-term marketability and career prospects (1). 

Finally, it should also be noted that senior management will need to address challenges based on the difference in work ideology between the Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and the Millennials. At certain points in any given workday all three groups will need to collaborate and work interactively.