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Millennials and the World of Work: An Organization and Management Perspective



PurposeThe purpose of this article is to provide a contextual overview that illustrates and illuminates some of the defining characteristics of the Millennial generation. This study offers a framework for understanding the most compelling issues organizations face in their efforts to effectively incorporate the generation currently entering the workforce. Design/Methodology/ApproachThis is a review and commentary that links together current research on Millennials in the workplace into a cohesive narrative, supplemented by several short business case studies and the authors’ own research, insights, and experiences working with Millennials in a university. FindingsThis article explores the ways in which college-educated members of the Millennial generation approach the world of work, especially in the context of their particular relationships with technology and institutions. Drawing on our experience as educators, we share our observations, along with those of others, highlighting organizational best practices when we have encountered them. We have grounded our thinking in the context of research and surveys about this population, including our own work, and examined the particular behaviors that seem to be most relevant to the tasks of recruiting, managing, and developing the generation now entering the workforce. ImplicationsWhile cross-generational workplace tensions are neither new nor likely to dissipate, we believe that additional insights gained by exploring this complex and sometimes paradoxical generation will facilitate the ability to tap into their many abilities and talents. Originality/ValueThis article sets aside the question of whether there are genuine differences in values across generations and instead examines two compelling factors that differentiate Millennial behaviors in the workplace. The first is their incorporation of technology as a “sixth sense” and as a fully integrated means of interacting with the world. The second is their expectation of organizational accommodation, stemming from their prior experiences and the degree to which institutions have made themselves malleable to the needs and desires of this cohort. Although much has been written about Millennials in the workforce, this approach provides a unique and nuanced understanding of the genesis of certain sets of behaviors and expectations. KeywordsGenerational differences-Millennials-Workplace interaction-Technology-Organizational culture
Millennials and the World of Work: An Organization
and Management Perspective
Andrea Hershatter Molly Epstein
Published online: 5 March 2010
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010
Purpose The purpose of this article is to provide a con-
textual overview that illustrates and illuminates some of the
defining characteristics of the Millennial generation. This
study offers a framework for understanding the most com-
pelling issues organizations face in their efforts to effectively
incorporate the generation currently entering the workforce.
Design/Methodology/Approach This is a review and
commentary that links together current research on Mill-
ennials in the workplace into a cohesive narrative, sup-
plemented by several short business case studies and the
authors’ own research, insights, and experiences working
with Millennials in a university.
Findings This article explores the ways in which college-
educated members of the Millennial generation approach
the world of work, especially in the context of their par-
ticular relationships with technology and institutions.
Drawing on our experience as educators, we share our
observations, along with those of others, highlighting
organizational best practices when we have encountered
them. We have grounded our thinking in the context of
research and surveys about this population, including our
own work, and examined the particular behaviors that seem
to be most relevant to the tasks of recruiting, managing,
and developing the generation now entering the workforce.
Implications While cross-generational workplace ten-
sions are neither new nor likely to dissipate, we believe that
additional insights gained by exploring this complex and
sometimes paradoxical generation will facilitate the ability
to tap into their many abilities and talents.
Originality/Value This article sets aside the question of
whether there are genuine differences in values across
generations and instead examines two compelling factors
that differentiate Millennial behaviors in the workplace.
The first is their incorporation of technology as a ‘‘sixth
sense’’ and as a fully integrated means of interacting with
the world. The second is their expectation of organizational
accommodation, stemming from their prior experiences
and the degree to which institutions have made themselves
malleable to the needs and desires of this cohort. Although
much has been written about Millennials in the workforce,
this approach provides a unique and nuanced understanding
of the genesis of certain sets of behaviors and expectations.
Keywords Generational differences Millennials
Workplace interaction Technology
Organizational culture
The first Millennial college graduates entered the workforce in
the summer of 2004. They will continue to do so, in large
numbers, until around 2022. To some, they are the next
‘Greatest Generation,’’ armed with the tools and inclination to
drive toward a better future in a world facing economic, geo-
political, and environmental crises. To others, they are ‘‘Gen-
eration Whine,’’ young people who have been so over-indulged
and protected that they are incapable of handling the most
mundane task without guidance or handholding. Still others
wonder if they are really very different from other generations,
or if the generational moniker and all the media hype it has
generated have simply created a self-fulfilling prophecy.
There is no shortage of data regarding the Millennial
generation and their values and beliefs. Over the last 5 years,
A. Hershatter (&)M. Epstein
Goizueta Business School, Emory University,
1300 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
M. Epstein
J Bus Psychol (2010) 25:211–223
DOI 10.1007/s10869-010-9160-y
hundreds of surveys have been conducted that have detailed
the attitudes, aspirations, and the societal and organizational
impressions of hundreds of thousands of young people.
Depending on the subset of questions considered and the
type of survey, it is perhaps not surprising that these data can
either support the theory that Millennials are fundamentally
unique as compared with other generations, or, alternately,
can be read to prove that their perspectives fall nicely along a
continuum, marking them as more alike than different from
their generational predecessors.
After much study, reflection, and discussion, our strong
impression is that this cohort behaves in ways that are
readily identifiable, often predictable, and frequently
unique to the generation. It does not necessarily follow, nor
does the data show that their belief system or values are
very different. Despite conventional wisdom, they do not
appear to be any more altruistic, family-oriented, or
motivated to succeed than those who have preceded them,
nor are they any less concerned with making money.
However, their relationship with technology has changed
the way they know the world, and their positive experience
inside organizations and institutions during their school
years has changed the way they interact with them. For
these reasons, managing, directing, and motivating Mill-
ennials is a challenge, an opportunity, and a learnable skill.
This article explores the ways in which college-educated
members of the Millennial generation approach the world of
work, especially in the context of their particular relation-
ships with technology and institutions. Drawing on our
experience educating and advising this population for almost
a decade in the undergraduate business program at Emory
University, one as a professor in business communication
and the other as faculty and academic dean, we share our
observations, along with those of some of the many profes-
sionals with whom we have discussed this topic, highlighting
organizational best practices, when we have encountered
them. We have grounded our thinking in the context of
research and surveys about this population, including our
own work, and examined the particular behaviors that seem
to be most relevant to the tasks of recruiting, managing, and
developing the generation now entering the workforce.
While cross-generational workplace tensions are neither
new nor likely to dissipate, we firmly believe that additional
insights gained by exploring this complex and sometimes-
paradoxical generation will greatly facilitate the ability to tap
into their many abilities and talents.
Millennials and Technology: Digital Immersion,
Content Creation and Engaged Interaction
Perhaps the most apparent difference between Millennials
and other generations in the workplace is their distinctive
relationship with technology. This should not be surprising.
By birth year, the Internet itself is a member of the Mil-
lennial generation. The TCP/IP suite that enables the
Internet as we know it was established in 1982—the same
year the first Millennials were born. AOL, complete with
parental controls, emerged when they were seven and
served as a first portal for most of them, even though there
were fewer than 500 sites on the World Wide Web at the
time. These first Millennials were in high school in 1997
when the number of sites reached a million.
Two icons of the millennial lifestyle, cell phones and
online social networks, also grew up alongside the gener-
ation. The world’s first commercial cellular phone,
weighing almost two pounds, was introduced when mem-
bers of the high school Class of 2000 were celebrating their
first birthdays: the iPhone emerged as they celebrated their
25th. MySpace was developed in 2003 and Facebook,
created by then-Harvard student and millennial Mark
Zuckerberg and originally designed for only his Ivy league
peers, was launched in 2004, as the first Millennial class
prepared to graduate from college.
Digital Immersion
Since these technologies are indigenous to Millennials,
they are often referred to as ‘‘digital natives,’’ while some
of the rest of us, who lived at least part of our lives prior to
the development of the Internet and its peripheral devices,
feel like digital immigrants. It is interesting to contemplate
what value this native familiarity might add to companies
as they hire Millennials. Don Tapscott, author of Grown up
Digital, has interviewed tens of thousands of members of
what he calls the ‘‘Net Generation’’ and believes that dig-
ital immersion has, quite literally, caused this age group to
be wired differently (2009). UCLA neuroscientist Gary
Small has mapped actual changes in neural circuitry that
develop with the acquisition and repetition of technological
skills. Small’s research shows significant difference in
brain functions among generations, a difference he defines
as the ‘‘brain gap.’’ For example, digital natives are more
effective in some arenas, like multitasking, responding to
visual stimulation, and filtering information, but less adept
in terms of face-to-face interaction and deciphering non-
verbal cues (2008). While these pathways can be developed
later in life, and there are clearly many extraordinarily
proficient developers and users of the latest technologies in
every generation, a marked neurological difference exists
between embracing it and embodying it. A brain that
developed prior to the emergence of word processing,
email, the Web, or social networks must adapt to new
technologies in order to use them effectively. On the other
hand, Millennials who have been hard wired by technology
and for whom it is integral to their academic, social, and
212 J Bus Psychol (2010) 25:211–223
personal lives, don’t think about adaptation at all; tech-
nology for them is a sixth sense, as a way of knowing and
interacting with the world.
Based on their own experiences, Millennials have every
reason to assume that all necessary information can be
gathered with the touch of a button on a 24/7/365 basis. If
Millennials are asked to investigate a topic, they will turn
first to Google and then to Wikipedia. If they need raw
market data, they are able to instantly access extended
social networks and obtain immediate feedback. Most are
seasoned veterans of ABI/Inform and can generate massive
amounts of data on almost any topic in extraordinarily
condensed time periods. Because of the extraordinary
investment, most universities have made in procuring and
licensing electronic resources, Millennials believe that
virtually every scholarly or academic article ever written
will be available to them instantly and without cost, and
they have little tolerance for claims of ownership or
demands for rent. They have become accustomed to pre-
senting the information they gather in smart classrooms
where, with the touch of a button, they can move easily
from PowerPoint to embedded web sites to user-generated
multimedia content. Extraordinarily comfortable with
widgets and gadgets, they have not had much experience
delivering cohesive, engaging presentations without the
benefit of technologically enhanced visual cues.
A workplace filled with young employees who are
typical of the Net Generation information gurus described
above remains a mixed blessing. There is no particular
reason to believe that these Millennials are any more adept
consumers of the data they retrieve than anyone else and in
fact, one can probably assume that they are less discrimi-
nating than their more experienced co-workers. They seem
to be blissfully unaware that most online sources rarely
adhere to any standards of accuracy and validity. When a
quick answer is readily available, Millennials tend to lack
the motivation to seek a more nuanced one, and by failing
to diligently follow a path of inquiry, they miss perspec-
tives that would enable them to evaluate the analysis of
others. They do not worry about response bias when they
survey a sample population of their closest friends, nor do
they necessarily contextualize the information, charts, and
graphs that they so proficiently gather.
While it is true that, in most classrooms, Millennials are
taught to understand the difference between reliable, veri-
fiable data and editorialized content, daily search-and-
retrieve behaviors may be too ingrained to overcome. They
have been profoundly shaped by a new literacy, complete
with different vocabularies and patterns of communication.
Mark Bauerlein, professor and author of The Dumbest
Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Ameri-
cans and Jeopardizes Our Future, believes that screen time
has eclipsed ‘‘great books and powerful ideas and
momentous happenings,’’ rendering the younger population
incapable of intellectual contribution (2008, p. 234). His is
an extreme view, but research clearly shows that this
generation reads far fewer books and many faculty mem-
bers would agree that student research and writing has
suffered as the result of a disregard for reading as well as
the tendency to trust peer opinion and public consensus
over original thought.
On the other hand, David Feldman, a millennial who
works in technology and debated Bauerlein on CNN,
recently shared his thoughts with us.
My generation started the trend of communicating
through blogs and social networks. In turn, every
Fortune 500 company has jumped on our bandwagon in
order to stay fresh and pertinent in the minds of their
audience by creating corporate Facebook pages,
Twitter feeds, and regularly updated blogs. Millennials
are so closely watched because of our visual thinking
and ability to process information in a much more
streamlined and efficient fashion than any previous
generation. (Personal communication, September,
Tapscott agrees, pointing out that Millennials have devel-
oped unique abilities as fluent visual thinkers who are
extraordinarily gifted at scanning and multi-tasking, but
who also have retained, and even honed, the ability to
engage in serial focusing (2009, pp. 97–119).
These two viewpoints about generational competencies
present an interesting dilemma. Our fast-paced business
arena often requires immediacy, including the ability to
efficiently retrieve and communicate concise, simplified
information. Yet, the complexity of organizations and the
environments in which they operate demands a more
nuanced, informed framework for analysis and under-
standing. If Millennials are going to become valued
knowledge workers, they must learn not only what infor-
mation to gather, but also how to verify and understand it
in context. In order to analyze, synthesize, and represent
that information in a way that is relevant to the problem at
hand, they will need to know more than how to scan; they
need to learn to read deeply and between the lines. To do
so, they will have to draw on history, books, education, and
the theoretical grounding and experience base that older
generations can provide.
Content Creation and Engaged Interaction
Perhaps a more intriguing Millennial capacity, particularly
among the more economically advantaged members of the
population, has to do with the time and inclination they
have to create and disseminate content. According to the
most recent December 2008 Pew Internet and American
J Bus Psychol (2010) 25:211–223 213
Life survey, 59% of all teens create online content. In fact,
28% of teens age 12–17 are likely to create a blog, as are
20% of 18–32 year-olds, while only 10% of Gen X workers
33–44 years old are likely to do so (Jones and Fox 2009).
In thinking about Millennials’ desire to publicly express
their opinions, it is noteworthy that one-third of all entering
college freshmen have a blog (Pryor et al. 2009). Whether
or not they are likely to continue to be prevalent bloggers
as they age is still unknown. However, this tendency
toward wide-spread dissemination of opinion may be
consistent with a population that psychologist Jean
Twenge, who refers to them as ‘‘Generation Me,’’ has
found to be more ambitious, assertive, and even narcissistic
than previous generations (2009). Blogging is just one
example among the many pieces of evidence that Millen-
nials are showing early preferences for using technology to
capture, organize, and broadcast their thoughts, opinions,
and experiences.
There are many organizations already using Millennials’
proclivities for creating online content to their advantage.
Employers encourage new hires to populate and utilize
internal social networks. Companies that see Millennials as
co-developers in marketing and design hold contests
inviting young consumers to generate and post commer-
cials or ideas for innovative product use, which are then
electronically judged by peers. Millennial customers par-
ticipate in the creation of consumer goods by designing,
rating, and recommending products. In this arena, infor-
mation, advertising, and entertainment meld together in a
millennial style mashup that perfectly suits the generation’s
media preferences.
In early 2009, the Walt Disney Company launched, a web site that creates 180-s episodes of its
featured shows based on audience submissions. One show,
entitled My Date, invites viewers to kiss and tell by sub-
mitting their best and worst date stories. The show co-stars
actor Brian Ames as love interest Ben. Brian, who has also
starred as a video-game action hero, is very comfortable
acting on an interactive stage. ‘‘It is a pleasure working in a
medium that facilitates customer interaction,’’ he told us.
He continued,
It provides our team with a consensus of how viewers
are perceiving our characters and insight as to where
they want the story to go. As part of that creative
team I found it appealing to tailor a piece for our
audiences’ expectations. From a business perspective,
the interaction/collaboration with the customer
ensures we’re fulfilling their needs. (Personal com-
munication, September, 2009)
In addition to its own impeccable record in creating
content for younger viewers, Disney is now leading the
way in facilitating the creation of content by those viewers.
Studies suggest that they are on the right track. A survey
commissioned by Deloitte found that 86% of Millennials
and 73% of Gen Xers regularly watch or listen to user-
generated content. More significantly, 70% of Millennials,
but only 48% of Gen Xers, report creating content for
others to see (Deloitte 2008). While the time and the desire
to fully embrace creative digital outlets might be a function
of age, at the moment, companies wishing to build loyalty
among Millennials may find that experiential co-creation is
a particularly effective means of doing so.
Engaging Millennial employees and consumers through
the media they prefer, and with content they will appreci-
ate, raises the same challenges as any other organizational
attempt to reach a specific target audience with an appro-
priate message. In the case of Millennials, because they are
so likely to use a wide variety of media on a frequent basis,
matching the format to the message becomes particularly
important. Younger workers obviously use traditional
email to communicate when it is the norm in their work-
places. However, they are the least likely of any population
under sixty to use email on a daily basis, and by far the
most likely of any age cohort to embrace texting as a
regular mode of communication (Pew Research Center
2007). To more effectively reach this generation, organi-
zations ranging from high school teams to fraternities to
global businesses are experimenting with group text mes-
saging services like Tatango, founded in 2007 by 22 year
old Derek Johnson as a way to help his friend communicate
with her sorority sisters (‘‘Interview with Derek Johnson’
2009). Text has the advantage of being simple and timely,
and falls nicely into the spectrum between phone calls and
emails as a means of interactive, relatively immediate, but
not necessarily intrusive, communication.
Beyond text and email, companies wishing to engage
this generation should also rethink use of the web in terms
of interactivity, visually appealing interfaces, and oppor-
tunities for personalized interaction and co-creation. The
web, by definition, is non-linear, and Millennial navigation
will naturally follow neural, rather than sequential, patterns
(Tapscott 2009, pp. 104–109). Circuitous routes with col-
laborative touch points and ample use of multi-media—all
aspects that might distract or annoy members of other
generations–are intriguing and comfortable to Millennials.
As technological devices, web-based search capacities, and
web enabled mash-ups continue to evolve, Millennials, as
early adapters of emerging technologies, may have an
advantage in instinctively understanding and building upon
their potential applications. Just as members of GenX
created Google, Amazon, and Wikipedia, Millennials are
next in line to develop the organizations that capitalize on
the power of whatever Web 3.0 and beyond may bring.
Like many other Millennial propensities, major chal-
lenges come with these opportunities. Currently, Millennials
214 J Bus Psychol (2010) 25:211–223
use blogs, reviews, social networks, and created content to
endorse, recommend, and share, but also to reposition, vent,
and complain. Companies should be forewarned that content
co-creation is an anarchistic process that cannot be con-
trolled at the corporate level. This format yields an inter-
esting paradox; some of the companies that have most
aggressively attempted to create experiential technological
interactions for this generation are also those that most vig-
ilantly protect the use and placement of their company names
and products. It is a little like handing the keys to a Porsche to
a 17-year-old boy and then telling him he can only drive on
carefully designated roads, and within speed limits.
Millennials and Organizations: Millennial
Meritocracy and Supporting Structures
While technological developments have played a primary
role in shaping the ways Millennials learn, interact, and
communicate, changes in the ways societal institutions
think about and treat the youngest demographic group have
had a no less profound impact on the Millennial mindset.
Starting in their earliest years, U.S. Millennials were rev-
ered, sheltered, and protected by a nation with Boomers at
the helm, who seemed suddenly aware that home and
school had failed Generation X.
In 1983, four years before the first Millennials entered
kindergarten, a national commission report on education,
also positioned as ‘‘an open letter to the American people,’’
described an educational system in crisis and a ‘‘nation at
risk.’’ The seminal report detailed widespread illiteracy,
declines in standardized test scores, diluted curricula, and a
severe shortage of qualified teachers, and then advocated
for broad academic reform, standardized measures, and
increased fiscal support (National Commission for Excel-
lence in Education 1983). The report’s recommendations
and the effectiveness of their implementation continue to
be the subject of debate. Nevertheless, there is no question
that ‘‘A Nation at Risk,’’ thrust educational policy into the
national spotlight, legitimized a heightened role for the
federal government in school systems, and spawned two
and a half decades of reforms, ranging from the account-
ability movement to the No Child Left Behind Act.
Similarly, since the first Millennials could walk, the
Federal government has played the role of an over-pro-
tective Uncle Sam, activating federal agencies to assure
that cars, products, homes, schools, and airwaves were safe
zones for them (Howe and Strauss 2000, pp. 112–113). As
a consequence, Millennials have an inherent trust in
organizations and a strong preference for the structures
and systems that support them. Research shows that they
are more confident in businesses, financial institutions,
and government than other age cohorts and than other
generations were at the same age (Levine et al. 2008).
Longitudinal data gathered across more than 800 students
attending four universities confirm these findings. Sixty
percent of Millennials enrolled as business students agreed
with the statement, ‘‘I trust authority figures to act in my
best interest,’’ while only forty percent of Gen Xrs agreed
with this statement when they were in business school
(Epstein, n.d.).
Milennial Meritocracy
Millennials’ trust in institutions assumes and relies upon an
equitable system, one that assures that industriousness and
accomplishment will be rewarded with acknowledgment,
encouragement, and access. They have always felt loved
and wanted by their doting parents, guided and cared for by
teachers whose training included the importance of build-
ing self-esteem, and, at least before 2009, desired by cor-
porate recruiters. Members of other generations, especially
Gen X, who are acutely aware that life is rarely played on a
level field, may describe them as entitled, but Millennials
view themselves as pressured and high achieving and have
grown accustomed to supportive, nurturing environments
that provide them with every opportunity to succeed.
During the 2000–2001 academic year, journalist David
Brooks followed the first Millennial class to college at
Princeton and wrote about their activities, attitudes, and
aspirations. In the years of peace and prosperity before
September 11, Brooks documented this academically gif-
ted, authority minding, optimistic cohort and branded them
the ‘‘meritocratic elite’’ (2001). Of all descriptors that
pertain to the young employees now delighting, frustrating,
and perplexing their supervisors, this term seems to be the
most accurate.
Securing a place among the elite requires Millennials to
progress through an increasingly narrow siphon. At each
life stage, they have had to compete for a fixed number of
highly selective and sought-after spots that have not
increased quickly enough to meet record demand. As a
result of the sheer size of this population of 80 million, as
well as the fact that an increasing percentage of students
from lower economic strata, first generation college stu-
dents, and under-represented minorities are now attending
college, in 2008, a record 1.5 million students took the
SAT, up 30% from ten years earlier (College Board
2008a). Even before they were born, their proud, expectant
helicopter parents were warned by their peers and the
media to start planning for their futures, starting with pre-
school. From 1980 to 2004, the number of states offering
funded preschools increased from ten to forty and over half
of America’s 3- and 4-year-olds were enrolled in a private
or public pre-K program (Ryan 2004). Among the more
affluent, this head start was part of a trajectory to position
J Bus Psychol (2010) 25:211–223 215
children for admission to the best prep schools, in the hope
that doing so would inevitably lead to enrollment in the
nation’s most highly selective colleges and universities.
According to a 2006 Nightline story, competition has been
so fierce among Manhattan private schools that an average
of fifteen applicants competes for each available spot. One
parental applicant was quoted as saying that gaining
admission to the 92nd Street Y pre-school was more dif-
ficult than getting into Harvard (Bashir 2006).
In all economic strata, the higher the difficulty of access,
the more pressure there is on institutions to live up to the
hype that surrounds them. Parents who make sacrifices in
order to move to more expensive neighborhoods located in
sought-after school districts, or who pay tens of thousands
of dollars each year for private school education, tend to
behave more like customers than like partners in the edu-
cational process. Educators over the last 15 years have
faced increasing demands for better facilities, more cut-
ting-edge technology, extended extra-curricular activities,
lower student/teacher ratios, and a complete array of AP
classes. In some cases, the emphasis on assuring that stu-
dents achieve credentials and high grades eclipses scrutiny
of actual academic content. These same parents expect
their children to capitalize on every opportunity presented
to them by earning the grades, varsity letters, leadership
positions, debate trophies, and AP credits that the best
colleges seek. Parents may coddle and protect, but they
also nurture the implicit expectation that the advantages
bestowed on their Millennial offspring will yield returns.
Of course, the elite, by definition, are a relatively small
group. The vast majority of students are in the public school
system and only 16% of college-bound seniors in 2008
graduated from private schools. Academic competition in
public schools is no less fierce, and is exacerbated by grade
inflation—in fact, 42% of all U.S. seniors graduate with an
A average (College Board 2008b). Many of these top-tier
students seek admission to just a small handful of schools.
Although U.S. News and World Report annually rates more
than 1,400 colleges and universities, most of the furor
surrounding admission focuses on the eighteen national
universities that had an acceptance rate of less than 25% in
2008 (‘‘America’s Best Colleges 2009,’2008).
Among other reasons, many college-bound Millennials
are anxious to attend the most prestigious school to which
they are admitted because they see a strong correlation
between the status of the school from which they graduate
and the best job opportunities. Since 1977, only ‘‘very good
academic reputation’’ has ranked above ‘‘graduates get
good jobs’’ as a very important reason to attend a particular
college. In addition, incoming freshmen value ‘‘prepares
you for a career or profession’’ over any other purpose of a
college education (College Board and Arts and Sciences
Group 2008). Recruiters fuel this mentality, creating elite
lists of ‘target schools,’ utilizing cut-off GPAs for job
applicants, and reaching out to high performers with
internship offers as well as special training and immersion
programs, sometimes as early as the summer after fresh-
man year.
It is therefore not surprising that members of this elite
group are well represented among young professionals
hired by thriving business organizations. As thought and
opinion leaders among their peers and as role models upon
whom the national media spotlight frequently shines, their
attitudes and behaviors are transmitted to, as well as
emulated by, others who aspire to reach the same levels of
success. This suggests that even if they are not wholly
representative of their generation, the elites’ interactions
with organizations set normative expectations—both posi-
tive and negative—and influence corporate beliefs about
the best way to recruit, retain, and motivate Millennials.
Supporting Structures
Just as secondary schools and universities have alternately
resisted and accommodated Millennial preferences for
organizational interaction, so too do corporations seek to
strike the right balance between expecting Millennials to
adapt and adapting the organization to better suit them.
Millennial preferences for systems and structures present
one of the largest challenges for organizations. A common
complaint among college professors is the degree to which
current students seek clarity and detail in course assign-
ments. Any elements of ambiguity, or any project or exam
that requires Millennials to work without guidelines, tem-
plates, or examples, results in a great deal of angst, because
they have not had much practice producing without explicit
instructions, well defined criteria for success, and specific
deadlines set by others. One result of legislation like the No
Child Left Behind Act is that schools have frequently
adjusted curricula and assessments to assure maximum
success on standardized exams. This practice, coupled with
parental demand for transparency in grading criteria, has
meant that Millennials expect very clearly outlined,
objective rubrics and well-defined expectations.
Universities strive to teach students to deal with
uncertainty and faculty push them to follow lines of
intellectual inquiry rather than adhere to outlines of class
lectures. Nevertheless, it is an uphill battle. Professors who
do not provide practice exams, who neglect to outline clear
guidelines for successful grades, or who fail to create
objective testing measures not only receive lower teaching
evaluations but also may find themselves described as
‘arbitrary’’ or ‘‘unfair’’ on
Millennial preferences for clarity and certainty do not
evaporate at graduation. The Global MBA Survey of more
216 J Bus Psychol (2010) 25:211–223
than 5,600 students enrolled in MBA programs confirms
that Millennials prefer to work in organizations with cen-
tralized decision-making, clearly defined responsibilities,
and formalized procedures (Graduate Management
Admission Council 2007, p. 20). Nearly three-fourths, or
72%, agreed with the statement, ‘‘I prefer a structured
environment with clear rules,’’ as compared with just 33%
of Gen Xers (Epstein, n.d.).
From the perspective of the executive suite, employees
who prefer stability, structure, and authority are highly
desirable. Millennials naturally align themselves with the
kind of objectives outlined in strategic plans: they are
optimistic about the future of their companies, they value
teamwork and community, they want to engage with cus-
tomers, and they care about corporate missions and
objectives. Seen through the right lens, they are proven
change agents who are committed to enhancing the orga-
nizations and communities in which they operate. In 2000,
when Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak wrote Generations at
Work, they could barely contain their enthusiasm for the
young people who were just coming of age. ‘‘At first
glance, and even at second glance, Generation Next may be
the ideal workforce—and ideal citizens—and generally the
kind of kids you’d want dating your son or daughter,’’ they
wrote (p. 143).
However, seen through another lens, Millennials have
turned out to be not quite as positive an organizational
force. Some younger workers who believe in the big
organizational mission are also prone to wanting to choose
the specific tasks in which they will engage and the
conditions under which they will engage in them. Not
surprisingly, this is a source of management frustration,
predicted in part by the authors of Generations at Work.In
acknowledging what they perceived as major differences
between Millennials and Gen Xers, they cautioned that the
rising generation might grow up to be ‘‘a very demanding
workforce’’ (p. 145).
Millennials and Careers: Feedback and Clarity,
Work and Life, Employer Relationships,
and Institutional Loyalty
Feedback and Clarity
Some managers might argue that ‘‘demanding workforce’’
is far too kind a phrase for Millennials. While the largely
baby-boomer population ensconced in the upper echelons
of companies are happy to sing Millennial praises, those
involved in day-to-day management hear a different tune.
Managers of Millennials frequently describe their
employees as ‘‘high-maintenance’’ or ‘‘needy.’
Interestingly, recent research has shown more workplace
affinity between Boomers and Gen Y than between Gen X
and either of these two generations. (Gen Y is identified in
the research as starting with those born in 1979, 3 years
earlier than the typical Millennial definition.) A study
conducted among 50 multi-national companies by the
Hidden Brain Drain Task Force looked at goals and
workplace preferences among employed college graduates
and ‘‘high echelon talent’ across age groups and found Gen
Y/Boomer commonalities with respect to work–life bal-
ance, commitment to giving back to society through work,
and desire for sabbaticals and flexible working arrange-
ments. The fact that these values are not shared to the same
extent with Gen X may simply be the result of life stage,
but the Harvard Business Review authors find the numbers
compelling. They point to programs like reverse mentoring
that pairs technologically proficient Millennials with senior
manager Boomers, who not only learn from, but also
greatly value, the connection. The feeling is mutual. More
than 75% of Gen Y report that they enjoy working with
Boomers and more than 58% say they turn to Boomers,
instead of Xers, for mentoring and advice (Hewlett et al.
Managers of all generations may find the Millennial
need for structure and reassurance draining. As trophy kids
who spent their childhood receiving gold stars and shiny
medals just for showing up, Millennials were indoctrinated
from their earliest moment to seek approval and affirma-
tion. In the workplace, this has led to a sometimes exces-
sive propensity to continuously seek guidance and
direction. Managers therefore often find themselves in the
unenviable position of having to spend a disproportionate
amount of time managing people who were presumably
hired to help them. W. Stanton Smith, national director of
Next Generation Initiatives at Delottie, shares a story that
illustrates this tension:
[The CEO’s] managers were complaining vehe-
mently that they couldn’t get any work done because
young staff members were constantly interrupting
them. The CEO listened patiently and then said,
‘Ladies and gentlemen, you are well paid to be
interrupted. How else are they going to learn? I don’t
want to hear about how someone isn’t developing and
later find out it was because you weren’t answering
their questions (Smith 2008).
This anecdote highlights two factions: one represented
by a senior executive, who embraces the idea of bringing
young talent into the organization but does not have to
directly deal with some of the more frustrating Millennial
behaviors, and the other, represented by the more direct
managers, on whom the burden of sharing expertise and
supporting the learning process falls. It may be helpful for
J Bus Psychol (2010) 25:211–223 217
supervisors dealing with similar challenges to envision
their Millennial charges, wearing the ubiquitous helmets of
their childhood, learning to ride bicycles. Instead of letting
new workers crash to the ground and emerge bruised and
frightened to try again, managers who slowly but surely
take off the training wheels will find that when they
eventually let go, Millennials will ride on their own.
This practice works in the classroom. As educators,
many of us prefer to invest initial time and energy into
providing assignment guidelines and outlining expectations
as a means of coaching Millennials through their first
assignment. As the semester progresses, students feel
comfortable riding on their own. In the same manner, those
managers who have the patience to provide early guidance
and appropriate feedback may find that the total expendi-
ture of time spent supervising projects is actually less than
if they continuously, and grudgingly, respond only when
absolutely required.
Of course, some managers would prefer to think about
swimming rather than bicycling. Their tendency is to take
off the Millennial water wings, throw them in the deep end,
and see if they drown. After all, that is how all previous
generations were treated. However, there are organiza-
tional advantages to a more structured and accommodating
approach. Becki Lindley, a pre-venture capital firm prin-
cipal at Cobalt Investments, recently shared how she
frames assignments for her Millennial interns:
There is no clear answer here – no correct answer.
The purpose of this project is for you to identify and
analyze options. Then you will make recommenda-
tions based on your research. First, conduct research
using x, y, and z. Next, organize that research into
compelling arguments for and against this project.
Then, present this information to me in an execu-
tive summary that you will present to me verbally.
(Personal communication, September, 2009)
In her experience, when she clearly framed the assignment
outcomes and acknowledged the ambiguous nature of the
project, her interns provided her with outstanding analysis
and recommendations.
In ‘‘The Trophy Kids Grow Up,’Wall Street Journal
writer Ron Alsop relates similar ways in which companies
are trying to help Millennials deal with what he calls ‘‘the
gray areas of life.’’ While all newcomers to the workforce
experience transition issues, leading employers report
making specific accommodations to help Millennials
grapple with uncertainty and overcome aversion to risk-
taking. For instance, Fidelity Investments screens its
interns to identify those who can think creatively and then
encourages its hires to take more initiatives. Boston Con-
sulting Group provides additional training for Millennials
who have trouble dealing with the ambiguity that is
inherent in client assignments. In response to recruiter
comments about Millennial struggles with gray areas,
many MBA programs have instituted new courses that give
students practice with problem solving in less structured,
more uncertain environments (Alsop 2008, pp. 125–138).
Work and Life
Millennials seek ample feedback because it provides
assurance that they are continuing to move along a linear,
progressive path. Almost every high school counselor’s
office features some sort of college preparation timeline
that lets students know at a glance exactly what they
should be doing at every moment to remain on track for
college admission. Universities use the same kinds of
graphics to outline student progress toward careers or
graduate school. Millennial employees thrive in organi-
zations that similarly create a clear path to success by
identifying employees’ ideal skills, creating realistic tim-
elines for promotions, and detailing career progression
(Epstein and Howes 2008, p. 3).
Chesapeake Energy, #73 in the Fortune ‘100 Best
Companies to Work For,’’ is a young company in the field
of natural gas. Their employees are young too: 50% of
employees at headquarters are under 33 years old (Chesa-
peake 2009). To retain and embrace talented Millennial
employees, and assure that they work well within the
Chesapeake environment, the organization has several
programs to ensure that members of all generations stay
engaged (Martha Burger, Director of HR at Chesapeake
Energy, telephone interview, July 17, 2009).
In the geology department, Chesapeake first acknowl-
edges and then transcends generational differences in its
‘GeoMentor’’ Program. This mentor training program
helps managers assure their legacy and practice a more
personal leadership style, while providing Millennial
mentees with a supportive environment that enhances
career progression, institutional knowledge, and visibility.
In addition to addressing generationally specific concerns,
the training addresses personality styles that transcend
generations. Using the Meyers-Briggs MBTI, GeoMentor
identifies characteristics of both the mentor and mentee and
then suggests a course of action based on individual pref-
erences (Chesapeake & Performance Consulting, n.d.).
The company works to address generational differences
in the workplace and proposes steps toward intergenera-
tional harmony in their twenty-page publication, ‘‘Survive
and Thrive in a Multi-generational World: A Personal
Guide to Mastering Generational Diversity in the Work-
place’’ (Chesapeake and Murray 2007). In his letter, in the
2008 annual report, CEO Aubrey McClendon says, ‘‘It is
the teamwork, mentoring, and collaboration between the
experienced professionals and the youthful newcomers that
218 J Bus Psychol (2010) 25:211–223
contribute to the energy and can-do attitude of a Chesa-
peake workplace’’ (Chesapeake 2009).
Chesapeake is currently hiring a social media coordi-
nator to support interactive initiatives and stay on the
Millennial cutting-edge. The company keeps employees’
careers moving forward by conducting full compensation
reviews twice annually, and committing to promotions
based on ability rather than longevity (Chesapeake, n.d.). If
an employee is performing well, she can increase her salary
and title twice a year, earn bonuses, and reap stock awards.
Chesapeake Energy’s non-hierarchical structure allows
employees of every age to contribute and receive recog-
nition for innovation (Martha Burger, telephone interview).
In 2010, with unemployment approaching 10% in some
sectors, many graduates who do find work will end up with
lower wages, less prestigious positions, and statistically
depressed salaries for a decade or more (Murray 2009). In
this environment, incremental compensation or accelerated
career progression is unrealistic, but it is certainly not the
only means of motivating a Millennial workforce. While
employees of all generations desire work–life balance,
Millennials may have the confidence and conviction to
demand it from their employers. In fact, 27% of students
stated that their #1 career goal is to ‘‘balance personal and
professional life’’ (Universum Incorporated 2008). Mill-
ennials are more likely than previous generations to make
career choices that provide a balance between security and
stability and healthy work–life balance (GMAC 2007). In
the Brain Drain study, 87% of them say work–life balance
matters and 53% of the members of this generation who
take a work deferral or a sabbatical use the leave to
‘explore passions or volunteer’’ (Hewlett et al. 2009). This
may be one factor influencing the trend toward public
sector jobs, including work for the government and non-
profit organizations.
The value that Millennials place on work–life balance
comes from both personal observation and societal shifts
toward more focus on families. Millennials observed, and
often experienced, the balance sacrifices their Boomer
parents made to achieve corporate success; many of them
spent long days in childcare or aftercare programs while
their parents put in the required ‘‘face time’’ at corporate
jobs that lacked flexibility. As a result, Millennials entering
new jobs report a strong desire to achieve greater work–life
balance. In a survey that measured priority placed on work
versus family, Millennials were only 60% as likely as
Boomers to describe themselves as ‘‘work-centric,’’ and
were 9% more likely to describe themselves as ‘‘family-
centric’’ (American Business Collaboration & Families and
Work Institute 2002). While these values may evolve over
time, the overwhelming evidence is that Millennials are
already more family-oriented with respect to their own
parents than previous generations of college students.
Technology facilitates the work–life balance Millennials
desire because it frees employees to work at a time and
place convenient to them. In scanning the descriptions of
Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For,’’ it is
apparent that more than 80% allow employees to tele-
commute or work from home at least 20% of the time (100
Best Companies 2009). Telecommuting has the additional
advantage of being an environmentally friendly approach
and is consistent with Millennials’ affinity for technologi-
cal solutions. On the other hand, before embracing long
distance work relationships, companies should think care-
fully about how to assure accountability, as well as how to
address this population’s need for frequent face-to-face
interaction with peers and supervisors.
Employer Relationships
Beyond their desire to move forward in their careers and to
maintain a full personal and family life outside of work,
Millennials have a set of strong convictions about what the
relationship with employers entails. In the fall of 2006, we
assigned 150 students to conduct interviews with peers
from outside their own university regarding their hopes,
dreams, and aspirations. Responses to what these Millen-
nials expected from the work environment were particu-
larly notable in their similarity to each other. ‘‘My
employer should provide me with job security, a good work
environment, and a positive atmosphere,’’ one interviewee
said. ‘‘I will find a place I know is a good fit for me where
I’m challenged but not overstressed.’’ Another sought ‘‘the
environment to learn, and the opportunity to better myself,
both in terms of my career and my ability to help those in
need’’ (Hershatter 2007).
The interviewed students were no less detailed with
respect to how they perceived their future bosses. A young
woman hoped for ‘‘a safe work environment, reasonable
hours, and flexibility. If you ever need anything,’’ she
added, ‘‘you should be able to go to your employer and talk
about issues you may have.’’ Another respondent was even
more specific, ‘‘He should be honest and open minded. He
should be able to guide and should be a friend and
co-worker’’. (Hershatter 2007)
While these may seem like extraordinary demands to put
on a workplace, it is worth remembering that throughout
their lives, Millennials have been encouraged to have, and
continue to maintain, similarly close relationships with
parents, teachers, mentors, and advisors. As a result, they
are much more likely than Gen X to want their supervisors
to take an interest in them; 66% of Millennial business
students agreed with the statement, ‘‘I prefer personal
relationships with my bosses,’’ while only 52% of Gen X
students agreed (Epstein, n.d.). More significantly, 58% of
Millennials agreed with the statement, ‘‘When I need
J Bus Psychol (2010) 25:211–223 219
special treatment, I feel comfortable approaching my bos-
ses and asking for help.’’ This is in stark contrast to the
response of Gen Xers, only 31% of whom agreed with this
statement (Epstein).
The difference in these preferences creates an inter-
generational conflict that is further exacerbated by the fact
that Millennials typically enjoy a strong and productive
relationship with Boomers, who may see in them the ful-
fillment of their own legacies (Hewlett et al. 2009). Cou-
pled with this natural affinity is the Millennial expectation
of a flat hierarchy and access to senior leadership. It is
therefore not surprising that organizational tensions may
occur when new hires circumvent the system and go
immediately to the top to vent their frustration, vet their
ideas, and build relationships. More than one direct man-
ager has discovered with horror that their new Millennial
employee has a lunch or golf date with their boss’s boss.
The challenge presented by Millennials who move
freely across levels of the organization has also been faced
by universities. Neither schools nor employers want to
dampen the enthusiasm of those who genuinely desire to
have a positive impact on the organization. On the other
hand, organizational structures provide not only account-
ability, but also protection for more senior managers so that
they are free to focus on higher-level issues. One proactive
approach is to build occasional opportunities for hierarchy-
skipping interactions into the system. In doing so, it is
possible to emphasize the chain of command, proper pro-
tocol, and the process for bringing ideas forward, while
providing an approved forum for Millennials to reach up
through less formal interactions like town hall meetings.
Another means of creating an appropriate vehicle for
Millennials to interact with higher levels of the organiza-
tion is through mentoring programs. These relationships
have been shown to be effective at socializing employees,
enhancing career paths, and building institutional networks
for every generation, but Millennials are the first popula-
tion to have been fully immersed in mentoring programs
throughout their lives, starting with ‘‘big buddy’’ programs
in elementary school. Mentor/prote
´relationships can
also be extremely fulfilling for members of the Baby Boom
generation, who are typically at levels of the organization
where they can enjoy the interest of a younger generation
without feeling the conflict of potential job competition.
One organization making particularly good use of such a
program to engage and develop their Millennial employees
is the CIA, rated #37 by Business Week in their Best Places
to Launch a Career, 2008 (Gerdes 2008). General Michael
V. Hayden, USAF, states, ‘‘Only if we mentor effectively –
only if we teach our new recruits and learn from them
will we achieve the objectives of our Strategic Intent,
CIA’s blueprint for the future’’ (Hayden 2007, emphasis
added). The CIA defines mentoring as, ‘‘a unique
developmental relationshipbuilt on mutual respect and
trust that fosters the growth and development of all par-
ticipants’’ (CIA, n.d.). They identify mentee benefits as
increased knowledge of the culture, enhanced professional
development, and an improved network with senior lead-
ership. The CIA’s three-level mentoring program—one-on-
one, group, and peer-to-peer—provides Millennials with
the guidance they desire and the format in which they can
share ideas and lead others. This program has been
incredibly effective. The CIA reports a retention rate of
94%, a particularly impressive figure because the CIA
salaries are significantly lower than many of the others on
the ‘‘Best Places to Launch a Career’’ list (Gerdes 2008).
Institutional Loyalty
Millennials who feel valued, looked after, and appreciated
respond with loyalty, at least in theory. Members of the
generation envision symbiotic relationships with the orga-
nizations that employ them—they are loyal to organizations
that are loyal to them. A recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers
survey of over 4,000 new college hires to the firm reported
that 91% of Millennials agreed with the statement, ‘‘I will be
loyal to the organization I work for’’ (PricewaterhouseCo-
opers 2008, p. 15). For organizations, loyalty from Millen-
nial employees means passionate, intelligent, and
enthusiastic work. To Millennial employees, loyalty means
that organizations assure that there are ample opportunities,
offer professional development and training, and provide
coaching and mentoring (PricewaterhouseCoopers). In
return, Millennials report that they will be Brooks’ ‘‘Orga-
nization kids,’’ who place a high value on security and sta-
bility (Graduate Management Admission Council 2007),
and will reject the concept of ‘‘portfolio careers’’ at
numerous employers (PricewaterhouseCoopers, p. 13). This
self-reported Millennial intention is in contrast to Gen Xers,
who have shown both an entrepreneurial spirit and high job
However, while organizational loyalty seems like good
news to organizations that invest in training a highly skilled
workforce, corporate recruiters are not necessarily finding
their new MBA hires, comprised of the trailing members of
Gen X and the oldest Millennials, are true to their word
with respect to their organizational commitment. In a 2007
Harris Interactive survey of corporate recruiters of MBAs,
half of the respondents reported that retention was a par-
ticularly difficult issue. These issues may arise even before
the first day on the job; 44% of Millennials in a Michigan
State MonsterTRAK study agreed that even if they had
committed to an offer, they would renege if a better one
came along (Alsop 2008, p. 32–33).
Millennials do have the capacity to be loyal, particu-
larly in organizations that continue to provide individual
220 J Bus Psychol (2010) 25:211–223
attention and a supportive, family-like environment. In the
2007 Great Places to Work Institute survey, Millennials
(those under age 25) ‘‘put strong emphasis on the question,
‘There is a family or team feeling here’’’ (Flander 2008).
Although Marriott International employs over 124,000
people globally, and is the second largest organization
among the 25 ‘‘Great Places for Millennials’’ (‘‘Great
Places’2008), the organization creates a consistent culture
that focuses on its core values, the first of which is, ‘‘the
unshakeable conviction that people are our most important
asset’’ (Marriott, n.d.). Other Marriott core values that
resonate with the desires articulated by our interviewees
and in a myriad of other surveys are, ‘‘an environment that
supports associate growth and personal development,’’ and,
‘a performance-based reward system that recognizes the
important contributions ofassociates’’ (Marriott).
Marriott is notable because the organization has con-
sistently and authentically embraced these values through
their actions. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the hotel
industry experienced crippling decreases in demand. Many
of Marriott’s competitors reneged on job offers to gradu-
ates of university hospitality programs, but Marriott did
not. They honored their commitments and hired those to
whom they had extended offers even though the organi-
zation did not require additional employees at the time.
Marriott found creative ways to engage these new hires
until the hotel industry rebounded. David Rodriguez,
executive vice president of global human resources,
believes that keeping their commitments created ‘‘lifelong
loyalty’’ from many employees (Flander 2008, p. 2). In
addition to happy employees, Marriott has earned multi-
tudes of awards that recognize their values and affirm their
commitment to employees, communities, sustainability,
diversity, and ethics (Marriott 2009).
There are many ways an organization can model
employee commitment. When Vail Resorts created a
company-wide wage reduction plan in March 2009, those
at the top of the organization took the largest pay cuts.
CEO Robert Katz, a Gen Xer born in 1968, demonstrated
his commitment to the organization’s values and his
employees by refusing to take any salary for a 12-month
period, and then taking a 15% pay cut (Maltby and Pepi-
tone 2009). Katz began with cuts at the top, including 10%
for all executives and 20% for members of the board of
directors. ‘‘If I was going to ask someone making $8 an
hour to take a pay cut, they needed to know I was doing
something that would really affect me’’ (Maltby and
Pepitone 2009). In doing this, Katz reinforced the organi-
zation mission, which includes a commitment to provide an
exceptional experience to employees (Vail Resorts 2007).
Even under challenging conditions, Vail Resorts was able
to send a very powerful message of commitment to its
many Millennial employees. Will it work? It is too early to
tell, but CNN has chosen Katz as one of its eight 2009
‘Heroes of the Economy’’ (Maltby and Pepitone 2009).
Millennials are savvy enough to read organizational
culture and they seek out this kind of alignment between an
organization’s values and actions. In multiple surveys, a
strong majority of them report seeking employment with
companies that positively impact society or reflect values
that are consistent with their own (PricewaterhouseCoopers
2008, p. 8; Cone Millennial Cause Study 2006, p. 4). This
has far reaching implications because Millennials not only
consider the level of corporate social responsibility in
choosing where to earn their money, but also factors
company values into deciding where they spend it. The
2006 Millennial Cause study revealed that 90% of
Millennial consumers would switch from one brand to
another, based on the brand’s support of a good cause
(Cone Millennial, p. 3).
Millennials care about authenticity and institutional values
because they are counting on working within organizations
to drive change. Unlike Gen Xers who are already making a
profound mark by creating new paradigms and systems for
solving complex problems, Millennials seem much more
inclined to operate within existing structures. Thus far, they
have been able to rely on institutions to provide them with
the resources and support they need to solve the tasks set
before them, and they are likely to continue to do so.
The members of this generation have a great deal to
bring to the organizations within which they operate. Their
comfort with technology enables them to not only access
information and resources creatively and easily, but also to
think and function in a world that, to them, has always been
without boundaries. Although they admittedly present their
fair share of management challenges, they are, as a rule,
people and organization-oriented rather than alienated, thus
easing the process of engaging and acculturating them.
A combination of the idealism of youth and the shel-
tering protection they have been afforded leads them to
believe they can and should be change agents on a grand
scale. Because they are collaborative, the scope of the
issues they face does not seem to daunt them, but rather
inspires them to pool their collective abilities to move
forward. While many are impatient to realize their own
aspirations, as a generation, they seem to believe that issues
like environmental sustainability, ethnic persecution, and
extreme poverty are best solved one can, one petition, and
one dollar at a time. So too, in organizations they are
equipped to work patiently to move the flywheel forward
— as long as they can envision and believe in the direction
in which it is turning.
J Bus Psychol (2010) 25:211–223 221
Millennials want to amass the skills, knowledge, and
credentials that will assist them in fulfilling both their
personal and societal goals. Corporate, non-profit, and
governmental entities seek driven, innovative, committed
employees who will help them fulfill their organizational
missions. To the extent that these two objectives are con-
sistent with each other, there is enormous opportunity.
Millennials may or may not be the next great generation,
but they are certainly the next work force, and with
effective management, they absolutely have the potential to
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... As it stands today, millennials are the largest generation currently in the workforce. 134 On the other hand, the shift in technology and paradigm among employers also reflects employee trends. The email and phone poll responses seemed unanimous; these trends are not going away anytime soon because technology is being used to help solve problems in the workplace and develop growth opportunities within companies from all sectors. ...
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The impact of aggressive capitalist approaches on social, economic and planet sustainability is significant. Economic issues such as inflation, energy costs, taxes and interest rates persist and are further exacerbated by global events such as wars, pandemics and environmental disasters. A sustained history of financial crises exposes weaknesses in modern economies. The Great Attrition, with many quitting jobs, adds to concerns. The diversity of the workforce poses new challenges. Transformative approaches are essential to safeguard societies, economies and the planet. In this work, we use big data and machine learning methods to discover multi-perspective parameters for multi-generational labour markets. The parameters for the academic perspective are discovered using 35,000 article abstracts from the Web of Science for the period 1958–2022 and for the professionals’ perspective using 57,000 LinkedIn posts from 2022. We discover a total of 28 parameters and categorized them into five macro-parameters, Learning & Skills, Employment Sectors, Consumer Industries, Learning & Employment Issues and Generations-specific Issues. A complete machine learning software tool is developed for data-driven parameter discovery. A variety of quantitative and visualization methods are applied and multiple taxonomies are extracted to explore multi-generational labour markets. A knowledge structure and literature review of multi-generational labour markets using over 100 research articles is provided. It is expected that this work will enhance the theory and practice of artificial intelligence-based methods for knowledge discovery and system parameter discovery to develop autonomous capabilities and systems and promote novel approaches to labour economics and markets, leading to the development of sustainable societies and economies.
... This generation is distinguished by several key traits, including a child-centric upbringing, digital nativity, and experiences with heightened school violence and terrorist events (Ting & de Run, 2015). Millennials exhibit greater ethnic and global diversity compared to their predecessors, and they are the most technologically connected generation to date (Hershatter & Epstein, 2010)l. While sometimes criticized as high maintenance or entitled, Millennials have been shown to exhibit performanceoriented behavior and function as agents of change within structured settings (Ting & de Run, 2015). ...
This paper dives into millennials' role in the workplace, merging generational insights with foundational research. According to Mannheim’s theory, generational distinctions stem from upbringing, societal values, environmental circumstances, and key events. Works by Rescher and Viega underline the importance of value alignment, emphasizing its effect on job satisfaction, behavior, and productivity. Drucker's theory stresses the power of managerial authority on employee retention. As traditional management methods become outdated, emphasis on attraction, selection, turnover, and talent development becomes paramount. Recognizing what drives this key demographic is pivotal for talent retention. Millennials, labeled here as the Hero generation due to their vast numbers, demand recognition and alignment with their values for effective retention. Ignoring this can be financially disastrous for businesses. The insights offered in this paper offer a competitive edge for organizations aiming to harness and retain millennial talent in a dynamic business landscape.
... Millennials as a generation are well known for their enthusiasm and competitive spirit which are embedded strongly since they are young(Raines, 2002). Unlike the former generation, millennials are accustomed to seeing themselves as pressured and high achieving which leads them to occasionally misplace their self-value under lack of recognition(Hershatter & Epstein, 2010). The overwhelming desire to be acknowledged has led millennials to feel under lack of attention and acknowledgements, which explains why some refer to this particular cohort as the 'me' generation(Stein, 2013). ...
... Requires feedback and the presence of a dialogue with superiors (VanMeter et al., 2013). On the other hand they can also be characterized by a generation of need and high care (Hershatter & Epstein, 2010). Even attached negative traits such as: having a fragile attitude and not having tolerance (Bodenhausen & Curtis, 2016). ...
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The leadership style was born driven by the assumption that the previous leadership style is no longer relevant if applied to today's millennial generation. This research is the first step to discovering millennial leadership styles that are difficult to find in previous literature. This study will use the literature review methodology to identify a range of theories that are pertinent to the issue under study. Data obtained from the Proquest and Google Scholar databases. The keywords leadership, leadership, leadership style, and millennial worker are used. We'll take the relevant article and analyze it, the article written between 2010–2022. This study find indicators of millennial leadership style based on the needs and characteristics of the millennial generation. There are eighteen indicators of millennial leadership style based on studies.
... More than the value of money, young professionals are interested in where they earn it. They choose their employers based on social responsibility and behaviour matching their own values (Hershatter & Epstein, 2010). The second most important value is "Creativity", which is confirmed by Half (2016). ...
... They could start by opening a drinking water management business, a mini shop, farm business and cellphone services sales. This business capital is easily found among teenagers in Indonesia, along with the increasingly competitive job search in the large business sector and government (Hershatter & Epstein, 2010). Small businesses do not promise enormous fortunes, but this is the first part of millennials to train to become entrepreneurs and become the next generation with independence in financial governance (Espinoza & Ukleja, 2016). ...
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This study aimed to understand various scientific study and scientific sources, namely, to find the relevance between Indonesian millennial financial literacy education and awareness of financial behavior to the financial independence of Indonesian millennial. To facilitate the discussion and explanation of this issue, we have carried out a series of literature data searches from various studies of journal publications, books, and academic procedures that discuss financial literacy issues and millennial behavior regarding finance. After getting the data, we analyzed it by providing consistent coding of the data, evaluating the data into several components, and summarize the implications of the findings so that we could produce a valid conclusion from various data points. Based on the discussion and analysis of the data, we can say that Indonesian millennial financial literacy is very relevant to financial behavior and in supporting the ability and thus capacity in reaching financial independence. We hope the results of this study become an essential input in future study efforts regarding financial behavior, especially of Indonesian millennial generation.
... Most voice studies from the general business field were conducted in high-tech firms ; however, the operation and structure of a hospitality business are significantly different from those of a high-tech firm. Knowledge-intensive industries, such as high-tech firms (Yu et al., 2020), have a flat organizational structure to provide a flexible work environment and encourage employees to speak up (Hershatter & Epstein, 2010). In contrast, organizations with a hierarchical and bureaucratic structure (Riley, 2014) strengthen the imbalance of power between leaders and followers. ...
In today's world, parenting should be seen as proactive rather than reactive. Everyone's access to digital technology has increased the necessity of knowing and caring for it. Big data, the internet, and artificial intelligence-based information technology advancements have drastically altered human behaviour over time. The objective of this study was to conduct a technological analysis of millennial parents' use of artificial intelligence for their children and to investigate the many factors impacting working millennial parents' adoption of artificial intelligence for their children. This research serves both exploratory and descriptive purposes. It possesses a qualitative quality. The researcher received the primary data from the Delhi NCR region. The data was acquired with the help of a questionnaire. Parents from the millennial generation make up the respondents. Information was gathered from the parents of millennials via a questionnaire. 64 individuals responded. These are academic experts who work for academic organisations. They are research scholars, research associates, associate professors, and assistant professors. The respondents provided the researcher with well-written answers. Data analysis was carried out with the aid of R programming, in which Cronbach's alpha was evaluated for the reliability of the data. Further correlation between technological aspects and correlation Between factors impacting working millennial parents' adoption of artificial intelligence for their children. The results show that they are positive for adapting to artificial intelligence. At the moment, parents are enrolling their children in skill-development programs and buying them toys. They might merely take more away from that. Millennial parents feel protected when their kids use secure electronics. The learning and flexible nature of children's relationships with technology is another proof that artificial intelligence promotes the careers of the alpha generation. Parents employ parental control gadgets and settings to keep tabs on their kids' whereabouts online and what they're watching on YouTube or other apps. Finally, it is evident from the data gathered that the alpha generation will see great advancements in artificial intelligence.
Most of our workforce consists of members of Generation Y, making it necessary to understand their motivations to work on projects. In this article we investigate the motivation of young project professionals in the context of four case studies. Based on self-determination theory, we outline the Conceptual Model of Young Project Professional Motivation, which is comprised of autonomy, competence, relatedness, and purpose. The study offers several contributions to theory and practice. First, the article extends the understanding to self-determination theory by operationalizing the different needs of young project professionals in projects. Second, it explicitly adds the need for purpose as a central motivator to our theoretical understanding. Third, it puts the motivators in contexts and shows that these motivators have varying levels of importance in different project and organizational contexts. From a practice perspective, the study contributes to a better understanding of how to attract and retain young project professionals in organizations, for example, by fostering work environments and career opportunities that are aligned with their needs. We conclude this article with a research agenda.
Currently, about twenty-five percent of all children ages three through five, who are not in kindergarten, attend a publicly-funded preschool. A bit more than twenty-five percent attend a private preschool. As for the public programs, the federal government traditionally played the leading role in providing access to preschool, but that is beginning to change. Forty states and the District of Columbia currently sponsor pre-school programs, up from ten in 1980. Both federal and state programs typically target poor children, but even then only serve a limited portion of the eligible group. As a result, millions of three- and four-year old children do not attend preschool, many because they have no access to public programs and cannot afford private ones. This article examines whether access to publicly-funded preschool ought to be expanded and, if so, whether courts - state or federal - should play a role in that expansion.
When it comes to workplace preferences, Generation Y workers closely resemble Baby Boomers. Because these two huge cohorts now coexist in the workforce, their shared values will hold sway in the companies that hire them. The authors, from the Center for Work-Life Policy, conducted two large-scale surveys that reveal those values. Gen Ys and Boomers are eager to contribute to positive social change, and they seek out workplaces where they can do that. They expect flexibility and the option to work remotely, but they also want to connect deeply with colleagues. They believe in employer loyalty but desire to embark on learning odysseys. Innovative firms are responding by crafting reward packages that benefit both generations of workers--and their employers.
Many faculty members believe that students today differ from those in the past. This paper reviews the empirical evidence for generational changes among students and makes recommendations for classroom teaching based on these changes. Generational changes are rooted in shifts in culture and should be viewed as reflections of changes in society. This paper reviews findings from a number of studies, most of which rely on over-time meta-analyses of students' (primarily undergraduates') responses to psychological questionnaires measuring IQ, personality traits, attitudes, reading preferences and expectations. Others are time-lag studies of nationally representative samples of high school students. Today's students (Generation Me) score higher on assertiveness, self-liking, narcissistic traits, high expectations, and some measures of stress, anxiety and poor mental health, and lower on self-reliance. Most of these changes are linear; thus the year in which someone was born is more relevant than a broad generational label. Moreover, these findings represent average changes and exceptions certainly occur. These characteristics suggest that Generation Me would benefit from a more structured but also more interactive learning experience, and that the overconfidence of this group may need to be tempered. Faculty and staff should give very specific instructions and frequent feedback, and should explain the relevance of the material. Rules should be strictly followed to prevent entitled students from unfairly working the system. Generation Me students have high IQs, but little desire to read long texts. Instruction may need to be delivered in shorter segments and perhaps incorporate more material delivered in media such as videos and an interactive format. Given their heightened desire for leisure, today's students may grow into professionals who demand lighter work schedules, thereby creating conflict within the profession.
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