Posted by: Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA) | December 2, 2010

Is Your Organization Millennial Friendly?

Diversity awareness has been a part of organizational culture and growth for many years. Now, generational diversity – the wide breadth of ages in today’s workforce – is becoming an area of strategic opportunity for organizations of all sizes.

When looking at an organization through the lens of those born in different eras, it becomes clear that each bring different thoughts, expectations, work habits, and experiences to the job. Getting managers to understand and appreciate those differences can help companies maximize the talents of each demographic.  It’s a natural process to at first oppose that which is not familiar, but in the case of so many Millennials, also known as Gen Y, entering today’s workforce, resisting is the worst possible strategy.

Increasingly, progressive companies are launching enterprise-wide initiatives to address generational diversity because the age range in today’s workforce is unprecedented. It spans from Traditionalists, those born from 1900 to 1945, to Millennials, the generation born between 1981-1999. In 2010, Millennials are just 15% of the workforce and their impact is already being felt, so as the years progress their presence will only increase.

To determine if your company is moving toward being Millennial friendly, it’s important to ask the following questions:

1.   Does your company support partner mentoring? This is a two-way relationship where younger workers are teamed with experienced workers, so they can exchange and share expertise about technology and critical tribal knowledge.  Millennials are not satisfied with being the “mentee.” They want to be full partners and contribute to this mentoring relationship by sharing their expertise rather than the paradigm that mentoring is one way and always provided by the more mature worker.

2.   Does your company help new employees understand the unwritten rules of the road? Millennials have grown up with a different set of boundaries and may not intuitively understand the lines between work and play, or how to treat other employees, customers and clients in a business setting, as differentiating seems odd to this generation.

3.   Does your company cultivate professionalism by clearly defining it? For example, does your company have guidelines describing appropriate professional attire, cell phone use? Have you articulated what it means to be accountable? As members of the Rubric Generation, Millennials respond when they know what “good”, “very good” and “excellent” performance standards include.

4.   Do your employees consider your company transparent? Are they are informed about its mission, goals and objectives? Do they understand how the business works and how all the elements and processes connect?

5. Does your work environment provide opportunities for younger workers to voice their thoughts and suggestions about technology– one of their areas of true expertise and passion? Do you provide an internal Facebook social network model to communicate? Does your company have it’s own wiki – one way to support their need to connect the dots about what the company does, how one department supports another, and how what they do contributes.

By thinking differently about diversity, many companies can unlock the talents of different generations eager to make even greater contributions to the team.

Diane Spiegel is CEO of The End Result, a leading corporate training and development firm, and creator of Sage Leadership Tools, which help manager’s work more effectively to engage Millennials.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tyler Durbin, Rebekah Gunderson. Rebekah Gunderson said: Is your organization Millennial friendly? #Millennials #GenY #genychat […]

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