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The Millennial Gap

Posted 6 years ago

The Millennial generation is comprising a larger and larger segment of the workforce, with recent reports indicating they’re near 55% of all U.S. workers. However, for as much as we hear about Millennials, it seems like most of it centers around culture and technology. What kind of professionals do they make? What do they value? Human Performance Specialist, Pamela Brooks, writes about her findings as both a professor and researcher.

The Millennial Gap

by Pamela Brooks

I have had many clients ask me recently about how to better understand the millennial generation, like there is something so different about them that makes them difficult to relate to. Granted, I know our brains are wired to simplify and it helps us to stereotype others so we can better relate to them. However, when it comes down to it even though millennials may have experienced different things in their early years, they are just humans like everyone else. They want to be successful like everyone else and they wanted to be treated like a unique person like everyone else.

Millennials have been stereotyped as being selfish, lazy, and entitled. There is a fear of their knowledge of, and dependence on, technology and at the same time a fear that they will not be committed to an organization and jump from job to job quickly. However, not all of these stereotypes have been proven. Some organizations have actually discovered that, while millennials do change jobs in less than 3 years, they are not changing jobs any quicker than the people they have hired with several years of experience. Millennials are just as engaged as Gen X or Boomers in the work place. Yes, there may be a gap in how they dress, they may not realize that looking at their phone while talking with someone can be taken as rude, or that they have a different concept of time that doesn’t always include being 5 minutes early. However, there is a greater diversity among the millennial generation than any generation before them. They don’t fit into a box well and no two millennials are exactly alike. In reality, the categorizations that exist for millennials should have no more weight than gender, age, race, or sexual orientation.

If there is anything I have noted in the research on millennials that is different than prior generations, is that they want to trust the management they work for, they want to be inspired by the places the work in, and are more likely to recommend their organization through social media as a great place to work. However, they are no different than any other generation in that they want to know their company will still be around several years down the road and that they will have the opportunity to grow and develop.

As a professor working with millennials in the classroom, I actually have found them to be more socially aware of their surroundings than most, that their work habits, good or bad, are no different than any other class I have taught, and that their overall abilities to succeed or desire to succeed are not different than other students I have taught. One thing I do know for sure, they HATE being called MILLENNIALS! What I find most interesting as well, is that I have them take assessments, like DISC and Motivators, in my class to help them increase their self-awareness and they all thrive on them. Many of them are grateful for the experience and take what they have learned about themselves and apply it right away. They also take what they learn about others through the reports and apply it to their immediate relationships. If anything, millennials have a desire to keep learning, growing, and are open to new ideas. They, like most people, want to be recognized for their uniqueness, challenged to grow, and given the opportunity to prove themselves.

My suggestion to the companies wanting help in understanding the millennial generation is to take the time to not only understand the millennials in their company, but use assessments to raise everyone’s personal intelligence. Take the time to help your people learn a new language of understanding about themselves that can also be used to remove generation gaps, improve communication, improve team productivity, and help leaders lead with insight. Flip the work environment to make it more engaging for all and make everyone feel more important.


millennialsPamela Brooks founded Cornerstone Consulting over ten years ago, out of her passion for understanding human performance and human performance potential. Her interest in performance started many years earlier as a collegiate athlete and collegiate advisor. She wanted to understand what drives people to succeed and then help them tap their strengths and confront personal obstacles so they could increase their potential for success

Pam is also the Vice President of Education at the Robert S Hartman Institute, where she coordinates their efforts on a global level. Her directive is to increase both the Educational and Research efforts of the Institute and plans on launching new directives to increase the application and teaching of Robert Hartman’s work in Value Judgment, ethics, leadership, World Peace, and the many other applications of Axiology.

Pam was also a member of the team that developed the Assessments 24×7 JUDGMENT Series assessment reports based on Robert S. Hartman’s formal axiology. The goal of that effort was to produce the premier HVP product available anywhere in the world.