As we look toward the coming year, I think it’s a good time to take a “long view” of how we are assimilating Millennials into our companies.
The position of Millennials in the workforce is a topic often covered in business blogs like mine, and that’s a good thing because it’s an important issue.
Exactly how important it is jumped out at me the other day when Paychex published the company’s latest special report – The Rise of the Millennial Employee. The first item in the report is the graph below, which shows the trends of Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers as percentages of the small business workforce between 2011 and 2017. The exit of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers is rather dramatic!
The Millennial overview
The report also provides interesting statistics on which areas of the country employ Millennials more and less, along with some earning comparisons between Millennials and the working population as a whole. However, I don’t think there’s too many unexpected findings here.
Generally, Millennials are making less than the national average in earnings, but that is almost certainly due to the fact that they are in the earlier years of their careers. That, I believe, is also reflected in the fact that the Paychex study found that wages are increasing faster for Millennials than for the overall work force.
The Millennial challenge
I like the advice Paychex gives small business owners for dealing with the growing Millennial workforce. They divide it up into three important areas:
- Attracting Millennial Talent,
- Engaging Millennial Talent, and
- Growing Millennial Talent.
Smart small business owners will put objectives, plans, and systems in place that address each of these areas. I’ve previously discussed attracting and engaging Millennials for your small business team, but I think it’s time we also started to get very serious about growing the Millennial talent we have – or will soon have – working with us.
This is made abundantly clear by the above graph: Current leaders from the Baby Boomer and Generation X groups are on their way out of the workforce. We need to help Millennials prepare for taking over the helm. And frankly, the businesses that do this best will be the businesses that flourish in the coming decades. Paychex offers some sound advice in this area.
Millennials in management
You need to provide the opportunities for professional development, including additional training outside of your workplace. I need to add an important observation to this. Millennials are strapped with far more college debt than were graduates from previous generations. In fact, just yesterday I heard about a bright Millennial recent graduate who is looking to hire on with a company that will help her pay for her master’s degree. See what you can do to help your talented and promising Millennial employees.
Another point Paychex makes is that if you’re able to find ways to take advantage of Millennials’ passions by using them within your business, it builds their confidence and helps them fit better within your organization.
Finally, keep the conversation going. When Millennials come on board, discuss career goals, put a plan in place, and monitor it together so they can feel like they’re making progress.