back to blog

Millennial Bosses Are Here: Ready to Impress Them?

Millennial Bosses

Remember when Millennials were the butt of all workplace jokes? Who’s laughing now? We all knew it would happen: Millennials are poised to encompass 75% of the global workforce by 2025. And they aren’t kids anymore. More than half are already in management positions with decision-making authority and direct reports.

So how is this transforming the workplace?

Jason Albanese, CEO of Centric Digital, dug into the statistics for Inc. and uncovered these valuable insights:

  • More than a third of millennials believe that, within ten years, “the CEO role will no longer be relevant in its current format.” While 91% of millennials aspire to leadership roles, 83% would also prefer to work for companies with fewer layers of management, indicating a less hierarchical approach to leadership.
  • About 75% of millennials say a successful business “should be flexible and fluid in the face of volatile working environments and not enforce a rigid structure on employees.”
  • Nearly 50% of millennials believe leadership is the empowerment of others. 
  • Millennial leaders prioritize social value over financial value: 81% say that a successful business “will have a genuine purpose that resonates with people.”

It’s a drastic transformation from the old status quo in the workplace. So how can employees and job seekers adjust?

BE HUMBLE

You’re older and “wiser” than you manager. So what? Take a page from our blog post Smarter Than Your Boss? and get over it. Education and experience aren’t silver bullets when it comes to being a great leader.

According to a Deloitte study, Millennial bosses understand they don’t have “the same breadth and depth of experience their predecessors have had, but they see the opportunity to redefine what it means to lead, how a leader should lead, and what it means to be accomplished at that level.”

We asked Rachel Truair, Director, Global Enterprise Campaigns – Adobe, who happens to be a Millennial, what she thinks about this shift.

“Credentials are important, but I think companies are realizing that just because you have certain bullet points on your resume does not mean you are the best candidate for the job,” she told us. “We’ve seen this with some companies removing bachelor’s degree requirements for certain jobs.”

ADOPT A LEARNER’S MENTALITY

We’ve talked a lot lately about the need to upskill to meet changing workplace needs. Millennial managers are totally on board, with one key differentiator: They’re three times more likely than Baby Boomers to believe that keeping skills fresh is the responsibility of the worker, not the employer.

Perhaps it’s because Millennials grew up in the digital age when learning new things—especially technology—at a rapid rate has become the norm. Maybe it’s also because we’re in a learning society now. The answer to any question you could have is just a click away. Gone are the days when you learned a skill and were forever an expert on the subject. Millennials know that and seek out workers who embrace change lifelong learning as much as they do.

ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE

The Deloitte study indicates that Millennials want to be “all in” at their jobs and want their employees and coworkers to be as passionate about it as they are. Truair agrees, telling us that, when she’s hiring, attitude is everything.

“The number one thing I look for in candidates is their attitude: are they genuine, are they open to feedback, can they articulate their impact, and are they willing to try to solve problems? On my direct team, I have managers [representing several generations]. They have varying degrees of experience and backgrounds, which is what makes the team diverse and rich in insights. The consistent trait between all of my team members is their attitude,” she says.

GET READY TO INTERACT

Interaction and collaboration have long been a key driver for the Millennial generation. A Gallup poll suggests 44% of Millennials are more likely to be engaged when their manager holds regular meetings with them, but only 21% reported meeting with their manager even weekly.

Now that Millennials are in charge, get ready to talk things through more often.

“Gen Xers like me are notorious for our lone-wolf attitude toward work. Tell us what to do, give us the tools and training to do it, and then leave us alone. No news is good news,” says Meagan Johnson, author of the book Generations Inc. “This is not the case with Millennials.”

Johnson points out that the workplace is adapting to Millennial management style by saying goodbye to the annual performance review and, instead, embracing regular one-on-ones at least monthly with managers.

UNDERSTAND FLEXIBILITY

Work-from-home and flex schedules have taken the rest of the workforce some time to understand, but Millennials just “get it.” When it works, it’s not about being lazy or selfish. It’s about increased efficiency. And that’s what you need to focus on when seeking out such a perk.

“Millennials were raised in an increasingly efficient way, from a communications standpoint to how we consume media to how we shop for groceries. As a result, we had the luxury of analyzing and then rejecting some of the traditional mores of how life—and by extension, business—gets done, with an emphasis on impact and efficiency,” explains Truair. “In the workplace, I think this has led to more flexible work environments and arrangements and more emphasis on employer benefits that make employees’ lives more efficient.”

Passion, flexibility, collaboration…they’ve been buzzwords for over a decade, but they’re now the foundation of today’s business world, thanks to the next generation taking the reigns. Still mystified by how to win over a potential Millennial boss? Ask your HT Group recruiter for tips. We’re here to help!