04 Apr “The times, they are a changin’.” How To Bridge The Gap With Millennials
“The times, they are a changin’.” How To Bridge The Gap With Millennials
Over the last year, I’ve spoken at a number of conferences and worked with a variety of companies and clients. During these meetings a common topic of discussion is the current challenges with the Millennial workforce. It’s not like it was a few decades ago when people went to work for a company and stayed until they retired. On the other hand, also gone are the days of pensions and other perks for that level of loyalty. Bottom line – things change and they change fast!
Is that the fault of the Millennial? Maybe the bigger question is are THEY really the problem or is the ultimate challenge in our perception of them because they are different from us? It’s almost like they speak a different language. In essence, they do. It’s likely that you are waiting for them to learn your language because you’ve got the life experience and seniority. How’s that working out?
Do you remember when you were young? Yep, you spoke your own language too. Your parents told you to turn down your rock & roll music (or maybe for you it was disco) and made comments like “kids these days” even as you were entering the workforce. They had stories that people your age were loud, careless, disrespectful, and possibly, even reckless. Every generation has their own language, and every generation has their own communication challenges. I do believe technology and all of the technological advancements have made the gap more pronounced, which means it’s time to step up our game. Here is the million dollar question ………… Are you willing to learn their language?
If you are waiting for someone else in the relationship to change, or “figure it out”, for that relationship to improve, it’s probably going to end in a divorce, and potentially a messy one.
What if the problem isn’t with the Millennials, rather, it’s with our own outdated perceptions and programming? What if we made the effort to meet them where they are instead of thinking they should meet us where we are? Why do they have to do it our way? What if their way is better? What could we learn? Maybe if we learned their language they would repay the favor and learn ours.
Why should this generation trust you? Why should they be loyal? Have you connected to what’s important to them and given them a reason to trust you? People work first and foremost for people, not companies, but they won’t care about what you care about until they know you care about them. The days of doing things just because it’s expected and for a paycheck are over. I think that’s awesome! In my previous experiences, I tolerated things that I would never put up with today. I’d like to think I’m evolving, and maybe this is something the Millennials figured out a lot sooner than we did.
YOU GO FIRST! If you want the relationship to improve, it’s ok to accept personal responsibility to make that happen. What are you willing to do? Remember, you may need to change your approach several times while you are learning their language until you get it. What would be the benefit of learning their language? Focus on that benefit and GO FIRST!
Think about how this applies to ALL of your relationships. What languages is it time for you to learn?