Tapping the Newest Generation of Talent – Millennials

Born between 1980 and 2000, millennials (aka Generation Y) are the largest generation in American history, numbering around 95 million in the US… with almost 80 million already in the workforce or about to enter it.

They ARE a force to be reckoned with, and a force no corporation can afford to ignore. The challenge of attracting, developing and retaining millennials is not just about their numbers; it’s about their different attitudes, styles and perceptions. It’s a whole new ballgame.

Let’s focus on millennial women for a moment, which make up just about half of all millennials. In a Washington Post Magazine article, Laura Sessions Stepp pinpointed certain characteristics of these early-career women. They “appear to be buoyed by a stronger belief in their capabilities than many of their mothers enjoyed at their age.” Additionally, they have high expectations for the quality of their work, as well as high hopes for what they’ll be paid.

An internet search reveals a plethora of tools, tactics and techniques to motivate and retain millennials. Most interesting to me is that these are strategies we have been utilizing in our TEAM Program (Transforming Emerging and Aspiring Managers) for 20+ years. It has always been our mission to help early-career women gain the confidence, the networks and the mentors they need to navigate their corporations.

Since TEAM is very much in synch with these young and talented women who want both a good career and a balanced life, it is a vital resource for accelerating their learning curve and fostering their journey to higher levels in the organization. Additionally, the program will help millennial women understand their particular corporate realities and identify the key levers for success. In the process, they will better grasp what they need to do for advancement and the timeframes in which they can realistically expect advancement to happen. In turn, their corporations will experience a higher retention level of this valuable, but often impatient talent pipeline.

Here are just a few examples of how millennial attitudes and TEAM dovetail:

  • Millennials want and seek out mentors: One of the lynch pins of TEAM is showing women how to find and engage mentors for maximum career success
  • Millennials are natural networkers: They’ve grown up with technology and social media and are interactive and engaged. TEAM will help them forge the right networks, galvanizing resources inside and outside the corporation
  • Millennials tend to be team players. TEAM helps early-career women show up at the table and get noticed by peers and superiors in career-enhancing ways
  • Millennials want real responsibility. TEAM helps women look at what they currently do, versus what they need to do to and how they can transition themselves for the added growth and responsibility they seek
  • Millennials need regular feedback. Millennials feel “annual reviews” are not enough and TEAM couldn’t agree more. Women at our TEAM programs are encouraged to regularly seek out feedback at all levels of their organizations and are counseled on the right ways to do it.
  • Millennials welcome change and challenge: TEAM has long shown that the biggest risk is not taking the right risks. By their openness to change and challenge, millennials are well on their way to moving ahead.

Click here for full information on how the TEAM Program can support the development and retention of talented millennial women.

Dr. Rosina L. Racioppi
President & CEO
WOMEN Unlimited, Inc.