Your opinion of millennials doesn’t really matter
Do you like millennials?
Turns out that your opinion doesn’t matter all that much.
Like it or not, according to Forbes, 75% of the American workforce will be made up of millennials by the year 2025. As of 2016, they were already the biggest generation in the workforce.
And just by sheer numbers with today’s cutthroat competition for talent, the most powerful millennials of all are those who are driving the technological revolution: the software engineers, the developers, the architects.
All those “kids” with the CS degrees, fancy programming languages and between 3-7 years of experience.
Time and innovation wait for no man. The companies that hire, train and retain this pool of talent will succeed. Those who don’t will fail.
Are you familiar with the term incubator?
Not quite sure? You’re not alone. Not even the companies who form incubators know exactly what they’re doing — and that’s somewhat of the point.
Incubators are clusters of talented tech employees, who, largely left to their own combined genius, are creating and developing technological breakthroughs in the start-up world but also for some of the world’s largest companies.
Here you guys, have a room and a bunch of coffee and some free food and go right ahead and think up the Next Big Idea. We’ll leave you to it. Let us know what you come up with. We can’t wait to see.
Corporations are literally setting technical talent free to just, well, make stuff up. It’s the corporate version of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
Some of the biggest companies on the planet have been doing this since 2011 and earlier, to boot.
Does this seem a little bit desperate at some level?
We are desperate. In HR and corporate leadership, at the very least, we know what we don’t know. And if we can’t keep up with technological innovation, someone will turn us into the next Blockbuster. And it will happen so quickly that we’ll be left in the dust, wondering why there’s a Tesla in our old parking spot with a customized license plate that says MIT ’17.
Maybe that’s a little over-the-top, but it’s also a lot potentially true. That should worry people.
The thing is: work isn’t set up to be innovative, per se. Work is set up to get tasks and projects done. But every company needs big, innovative ideas/product lines/services/approaches to stay ahead.
Realizing that aggressive, proactive technical innovation is the only way to compete both today and in the future is only part of the problem some corporations are facing.
Hiring and retaining top talent goes far beyond a competitive salary and benefits package, a puppy room, or a state-of-the-art Virtual Reality ping-pong and bean bag lounge. No matter what seemingly ridiculous perk or hike in pay your firm offers to this talent pool, the truth is that millennials don’t want to work for or buy from companies who they believe are doing harm.
Wait, millennials can’t be bought?
That’s right, if your company is not doing or saying the right things, millennial talent cannot be bought, or tricked, or cajoled into working for you. Don’t believe me? Dig into the Millennial Impact Report, read a few of the research-based articles on GreenBiz, or just watch what happens to Facebook over the next 12 months.
Facebook use may be declining in the West, but in growing economies in the developing world, there are millions of potential users, just waiting for their very first smartphone so they can log in and get connected.
Think the #deletefacebook movement is what is keeping Mark Zuckerberg up at night?
I work in staffing. The words attrition and bloodbath seem more appropriate.
Or perhaps you want to dive into the burgeoning industry of corporate rebranding. There’s Mogul Magazine, an online platform that showcases corporation’s efforts to attract and retain talented young women. Or Benevity, the company that offers solutions to “power their Goodness Programs and corporate philanthropy, helping them attract, retain and engage today’s workers by connecting people personally to causes that matter to them.”
Or maybe, you can just have a frank conversation with a 28-year-old software engineer, and ask if what your company does and stands for is appealing to them.
After all, they are your new boss.