Millennial Talent Development: Areas of Focus for 2015

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Although Millennials may think they come to the workforce primed and ready to go, needing little to no development, they would be wrong (and I’m a recovering Millennial so I can say that). We all need development, and we all need help identifying strengths and identifying ways to neutralize our weaknesses.

Here is a list of eight areas of development for you, as a manager, to work on with your Millennials in 2015.

  1. Building their own mini-business unit. An altruistic generation and one that requires deep meaningfulness in all that they do, this area of development helps instill the idea of building a mini-mission, vision, and values within Millennial employees who see themselves as owning their “mini-business unit.” By doing this, they have stronger commitment to their career and your organization.

  2. Becoming a coach-centered manager. The new role of manager will be one that can coach and mentor others. Most new supervisors and managers are promoted into the role of leadership because they are good at doing the job, not because they are good at supervising others; that skill has to be learned. This area of development is about teaching the new Millennial manager the basic leadership and supervisory skills of taking on the new role.

  3. Enhancing their communication skills. When it comes to fishing, we know how to bait the hook to suit the fish. But when it comes to people, we often say, “Look, this is the way I am. Take it or leave it.” Then we wonder why we can’t catch any “fish.” This area of development teaches Millennials how to catch the fish through great communication and modifying their approach to fit the person rather than themselves. Millennials need to learn new ways to communicate through technology and socialization, as well face-to-face.

  4. Building on their conflict resolution skills. Experts suggest that a conflict occurs in the workplace every 20 minutes. If not handled correctly, people will either triangle behind each others’ backs or collect stamps (resentments). Millennials can also be non-assertive when necessary or passive-aggressive as a way to indirectly deal with conflict. This area of development gives Millennials the insight and tools needed to deal with conflict in a healthy way.

  5. Employing proper goal setting. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment says the quote. So often we goal-set (or dream-set) without any real tools or skills to manage those goals. This area of development works with Millennials on setting SMART goals, long-term/short-term goals, setting priorities around those goals, and then how to move goals into action steps.

  6. Enhancing their time management awareness. Some estimates claim that the average worker gets interrupted every eight minutes and a person with a cluttered desk spends on average 1.5 hours per day looking for things. With Millennials, the statistics are even worse as a 24/7/365 media world has greatly altered their ability to manage time and concentrate on key priorities. In our time-pressed work, learning how to manage multiple priorities and time is critical to success. This area of development should take lessons learned from fundamental time management tools and pair it with new school technology to maximize time and refocus Millennial energies.

  7. Growing their abilities to influence and persuade others. Millennials may often find themselves having to influence and persuade with very little positional power in the beginning of their careers. How do we convince people to follow our suggestions and advice? How do we make sure our personal impact and influence is a positive one? This area of development helps Millennials build their personal impact, persuasion and influence strategies.

  8. Jumpstarting their problem-solving development. in order to stay competitive, Millennials have to be good at solving problems, making decisions and creating forward movement. Most Millennials never went to school for problem solving and so that skill is severely lacking in these workers. This area of development identifies key management tools for problem solving and works with participants to build problem solving strategies to handles tomorrow’s challenges.

Hopefully, this list gives you some focal points to address in the coming year. These are areas that we see needing major attention and growth when working with Millennials. What are you seeing with your working Millennials? Are there any additional talent developments that you’re working on in 2015 that you would add to the list?

About the Author

Matthew Harrington is an author, trainer, and consultant with New Directions, an innovative leadership firm located in Vermont. Matthew is seen as a subject matter expert on social media, social learning, the Millennial generation, and new forms of leadership within the workplace. His recent book, Survival of the Hive: 7 Leadership Lessons from a Beehive, provides a working illustration of cultural complexity, leadership clarity, and the importance of trust as a foundation for excellence. The fun and reflective book provides leadership lessons from the macro- and micro-responsibilities of a queen bee and her relationship to a hive. 

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