Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Workforce is Changing Before Our Very Eyes—How Do We Adapt? Part 2

In our last blog post, we identified new characteristics of the Millennial worker.  If you were perplexed and challenged by what we wrote, you are not alone.  It is common for many baby boomer managers and older workers to think, “Just let me do my job, get my time in so that I can retire and get out of here!”  Well, as usual, things are not normally that simple.  Leading the Millennial worker isn’t simple either.


            OK, this is not tough, however, you may have to change your mindset and be willing to adapt to change.  Change is hard, but not impossible.  In today’s world, change is the only constant in life.


            If you are the manager/leader or co-worker, here are the steps to begin insuring that both you and the new Millennial worker are successful.  After all, it takes all of you to win the battle and the war!


  • Step 1—Embrace change, the new environment and the new worker.  It is all that you can do.  Some reading on the Millennial generation, using GOOGLE to find relevant articles can  be a good start.


  • Step 2-- Have a focused, in-depth discussion with the new Millennial employee during the initial on-boarding process.  Ensure that he/she knows the expectations of the firm, i.e., dress, attendance, comportment with colleagues and clients, etc.  And maybe chat a little about the culture of your company.
  • Step 3—Listen very, very carefully to the questions that you are asked.  Each question has a point to it—make sure that you know, understand and answer the question.  In some cases, you are not going to know the answer and will have to get back to the employee.  If you say you will do so—DO IT!  This is a time that you are being watched.
  • Step 4—Provide the best technology possible.  If the computer you are providing is the old desk top with Windows XP, which will NOT work.  Don’t embarrass yourself or the firm—get the newest, fastest laptop or tablet and give to the new Millennial employee.  He/She will now how to operate it—even if you don’t0—they will.
  • Step 5—The “Why” question?  Be prepared to answer and address the “why” question.  Here is one time that you don’t need to be defensive, however, now may be the time to make some real changes because your new Millennial asked Why?  If change is required, do it!  After all, the new millennial has ideas also.
  • Step 6—Hours—Most Millennials are used to working lots of weird and different hours.  Does it really make any difference, as long as the job gets done?  Do you have to have everyone outside the door so that you can see them?  These are all deep, penetrating thought questions; however, the prima facie answer is usually, not always.  If someone wants to work a weird shift, as long as the work is done and done well, do you care?  Think about this answer—it is not as hard as you may think; however, it is easier than you may think also.  Remember, the Millennial worker wants responsibility as well as respect.  Give it to them; you will receive it back exponentially.
  • Step 7- Mentorship—This is one of the key  expectations that a new Millennial employee is seeking—mentorship.  This takes work—focused dedicated effort on your part as the supervisor; however, the results are well worth the time involved!  I have always made new employees develop a 5 year rolling  “game plan” focusing on the following areas:
        • Career
        • Family
        • Fun/Recreation
        • Spiritual
        • Financial


This can be a rolling 5 year Gantt chart.  The key is to have some specific focus areas with defined goals that both you and the employee can review.  This works well—try it!


  • Step 8- Reflection and Review.  If you do all of the above steps, you will find that you have a new Millennial employee who has an attitude of gratitude for you, your company and the industry in which you work.  And you’ll have a very productive employee as well!



Leaders must create the organizational environment for success.  Meeting the Millennial worker’s expectations  are fundamental to having success with Millennial generation employees. 


At June 5, 2014 at 2:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man-- did you guys hit the ball out of the park with this series of posts! these are just the kinds of problems that we are facing-- you guys have addressed some ideas that we have not even thought about! If we need help, we will call.

At July 1, 2014 at 8:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a baby-boomer with many years of management experience I have experienced difficulty relating to millennials. I found these posts very helpful. The information helped me understand the millennial mindset. And the behavioral coaching, step by step about what to do, helps me prepare to do a better job relating to millennials.


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