Millennials may be the youngest generation in the workforce, but many of them have over 15 years of professional experience at this point. So what have they taken from that experience? How do they feel about the workplace — and maybe more importantly, what lessons would they pass along to the workers coming along after them?
For the majority of respondents, the biggest surprise about the world of work is the “lack of company support for training and development.” So when Mindflash asked for the one piece of advice they have for 2015 college graduates, nearly 40% said, “invest in your own skills training to make you as marketable as possible.”
Take Them by Surprise
This generation believes that employers won’t help them develop professionally. So make yourself stand out from the crowd — by being a good surprise. Make it clear that employee development is a priority at your company, whether that’s through on-the-job training, subsidizing tuition for continuing education, or funding prep courses for certification exams. And then reward that development by providing opportunities for growth within the company.
The Leadership Problem
And where do millennials want the most training? Over half of them told Mindflash that they manage or have managed at least one employee. Yet Deloitte found that 30% of those who are in leadership positions do not feel ready.
Here are the leadership skills that Gen Y wants to develop most, according to Mindflash’s data:
project management (25%)
interpersonal communication (21%)
problem solving (20%)
These are the kinds of skills that can’t be learned through a class or a test. They come through experience. So how can companies help this generation, short of throwing them in the deep end and hoping they learn to swim?
Mentorship From Managers
Millennials who are new to leadership roles don’t have to go it alone. A mentorship program is the perfect way to let these workers develop and yet provide them with guidance and the wisdom of experience. Employees’ supervisors are in the perfect position to observe and provide advice.
These young employees are far from the self-absorbed rule breakers of popular imagination. They’re asking for support and guidance from their employers to help them learn and become better workers. Right now, they believe that help isn’t there — and they’re passing that message on to their younger counterparts.