• Millennials most demanding generation to manage, say employers

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  • 29 Jan 2016
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HR urged to ‘change tack’ when designing leadership development programmes 

Millennials are more demanding on managers’ time and need more support in the workplace than any other generation, according to a survey.

When 1,000 bosses were asked which of their workforce required most guidance in the workplace, 63 per cent admitted millennials, (people born between 1980 and 2000), in comparison to baby boomers (those born 1946-1964), generation X (those born 1965-1979) and generation Z (post-millennials).

The survey from Cascade HR showed that 48 per cent of managers felt millennial employees were most reliant on detailed targets, and needed regular progress meetings to stay motivated.

However, the majority (89 per cent) also agreed millennials were highly career driven.

Millennials were also cited as the generation most incentivised by reward and praise (41 per cent), followed by generation X at 26 per cent, baby boomers at 22 per cent and generation Z at 11 per cent.

Over half (51 per cent) of bosses said it was difficult to find and retain millennial workers because they expected more from their employers.

Michael Jenkins, chief executive of Roffey Park Institute, said its own research had shown millennials expected support to be forthcoming and looked for a personal focus to their development more than other generations.

He said this group enjoyed learning in an experimental style, which meant a high degree of feedback was required, as well as reassurance when things do not turn out as expected.

"Feedback, especially feedback that might sometimes be less than welcome, needs to be given [to millennials] in a thoughtful way,” he said.

“Employers are also anxious about the possible lack of self-awareness of millennials, which has significant implications for the design of leadership development programmes, where discussions around and activities to develop self-awareness might become really quite critical."

Jenkins added that many organisations struggle to retain a consistent millennial workforce, with many employers stating that their retention periods for the younger generation had declined to their lowest level.

"Meanwhile there is a growing expectation that with generation Z, retention periods will start to rise again,” he added.

Rob Noble, chief executive of The Leadership Trust, said: "The further you go back in the generations there was more of a belief that a job was for life, the pension scheme was going to deliver when you retired, your network was in that workforce. Now, if people don't feel the organisation is going to deliver what they are looking for, they are much more mobile.

"Millennials are more vociferous. People are much more networked today and will compare and contrast organisations. Millennials, in particular, are used to checking the data, looking at the stock exchange to see how their company is performing, and looking at the top 200 companies and seeing how their [own company] matches up,” he added.

The study showed that when it came to other traits, 39 per cent of bosses cited generation X as the most self-sufficient workers, with baby boomers coming a close second (34 per cent).

Generation X was also believed to be the generation with the biggest desire for a work life balance; an opinion cited by 37 per cent of managers. 

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  • I think you might be referring to generation Y which are people born between 80s and 90s with early access to technology.

    Millennials as mentioned above are another group usually referred to post 2000, but really any person born and raised with computer deviced could be considered a millennial.

  • You're quite right Cathy. Have just clarified with Cascade and for the purpose of this study, millennials were defined as "people born between 1980 and 2000". The copy has been amended to reflect this

    Thanks for commenting

  • I would agree with you Cathy as there's no specific date reference to those born between 1980 and 2000.

  • Hello, just checking out your definition of 'millennials' - if it's 'those born after the year 2000' it would mean (just) 16 year olds? I've seen it defined elsewhere as people who reached adulthood in the year 2000. Perhaps this make more sense in this article?