by Geoff Colvin
And how to fix them.
Millennials have become the largest demographic in the workplace. But managers of all ages have struggled to find the best way to connect with a wave of twenty- and thirtysomethings who do most of their typing with their thumbs, work wearing earbuds, and claim they can hold meaningful conversations while monitoring five open browser windows. Many leaders have fallen back on stereotypes about the generation (see the previous sentence), only to find that they’re neither true nor useful in managing.
So now what?
It’s time for Managing Millennials 2.0, based on finer distinctions derived from years of experience and current data. Three helpful insights stand out:
Different Generations Aren’t Different Species.
On many important dimensions, millennials are remarkably like Gen Xers and baby boomers. Contrary to stereotype, in a recent IBM IBM 0.59% survey only 18% of millennials said “managing my work/life balance” is one of their top two career goals, vs. 22% of Gen Xers and 21% of baby boomers. Millennial employees are less likely than Gen Xers to use personal social media accounts for work purposes, says the same research. And millennials’ preferred method of learning new work skills is—brace yourself—face-to-face contact.