How Millennials Want To Take Charge At Work

2 min read
Jan 1, 2015

Millennials Want To Take ChargeMillennials often get stereotyped as being overly coddled by helicopter parents, but that doesn’t mean they always want to be told what to do. The members of this generation show plenty of initiative and a drive to take the lead at work.

According to the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Young Entrepreneurs Council, these up-and-comers might know what it’s like to be the boss even before they come to work for you:

  • 35% have started a side business
  • 30% started a business in college

This means that these young workers can arrive with a fair bit of practice running the show, and possibly even managing another employee or two. That’s not the picture of some ignorant newcomer who needs to be shown the ropes of the working world. Earn their trust and help your company out by recognizing the knowledge and experience they bring to the table.

Of course, just because they’ve done it before doesn’t mean that millennials know all there is to managing staff or running a company. Many of them recognize this and specifically seek out employers who will teach them more:

  • Less than 40% of current millennial leaders felt ready when they entered their role (source)
  • Over half say that opportunities for career progression make an employer attractive (source)
  • 22% see training and development as the most valued benefit from an employer (source)

They’re telling us not only how to recruit them, but how to retain them. Gen Y will come to you if you express a commitment to developing employees, and you can keep them by supporting their growth.

Does all this pushing upward mean they want to take your place as the boss? Not necessarily. A survey by Bentley University gives us a glimpse into this generation’s aspirations:

  • only 13% have the goal of becoming a CEO or president
  • 37% want to work on their own

Rather than being in charge of everyone, it looks like these employees value leadership opportunities and autonomy. Consider giving them the chance to lead a small team, with your mentorship to guide them. Or have them head up a major project, so they can hone their skills in driving a process (and the people involved) from start to finish.

They’re young and hungry—and more independent than they often get credit for. Be aware of what kind of growth millennials want on the job, and you’ll keep them happy at work and giving you their best.



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