Working with Millennials: Don’t Take Them for Granted.


By: Kathy DelMedico

Millennials get a bad wrap in the work place. People say that they are constantly on their phones, never satisfied, always waiting for the next best thing and think the world revolves around them.

Instead of being a typical Generation X’er irritated by all of the above, I set out on a path to understand it.  I read numerous articles, but it was a book by Bruce Tulgan called NOT Everybody Wins A Trophy – How to Manage the Millennials that really put it in perspective for me.  

The book was incredibly insightful and made me laugh as I felt the author had been a fly on my office wall over the last couple of years.  Call me old-fashioned when I am writing on paper, calling from a landline, etc., but it’s just the way I’ve been trained. It has been an adjustment working with the next generation and although I don’t always understand it, the bottom line is that change is good.  

All of these years working inter-generationally begs the question: What are Millennials good for? 

‘I can do it myself’

Millennials want to work independently, but also want to know where they can go for judgment free supportive assistance.  They have a tremendous opportunity for growth when they allow themselves to be vulnerable and open up to learning.  And, most of all they want to actively participate and be heard.   The team at Ember, which is basically made up of all Millennials, pushes us every day to look at things differently and strive to make things better. They also need praise, appreciation and feedback, but not always the constructive type. I do my best to keep that in mind.

‘I’m sorry, I was looking at my phone’

The phone thing drives me crazy. It’s like an extra limb that people carry around with them these days. I’ll admit I’m guilty of it too, but I try to keep it at bay. Despite their noses always being buried in a monitor, this flowers great potential. Think about it: At this point in time, you have the world’s information about anything and everything in the palm of your hand. ANYTHING is possible with your phone, and Millennials know that. Need another vendor for an event? ‘Give me 30 seconds’. What’s the distance between the venue and the hotel? ‘Give me 10 seconds’. Millennials know how to harness the power of their phones. If only they would post less on Instagram, we’d be in a great place. 

My advice is simple: Despite the differences from other generations, you shouldn't limit - or generalize - Millennials. They work hard, work smart, and just because they get to the finish line a bit different than others doesn't mean they are doing it wrong. I invite you to give them a chance - you may even learn something from them!

Chris Gasbarro