I Can’t Believe That’s All the Millennials Wanted!

April 08, 2016 | Blog | Industry News | Safety Training

They are rude, lazy, apathetic, gossipy, disloyal, constantly complaining and not team players. “You don’t pay me enough,” “this is boring, it’s like the same thing, day after day!”

Does this sound familiar? It probably does, but not for the reason that you are thinking. You see, I am not talking about today’s youth, the Millennials. I am talking about the Baby Boomers. WHAAAAAT? Yes, I am talking about you, Baby Boomers, and really, it’s not me saying this, it’s your mentors, the Greatest Generation*, those born before 1945. Don’t believe me? Check out Life magazine in May of 1968. Ernest Fladell wrote an article essentially saying the same things about Baby Boomers that we now say about Millennials.

Now, we know that the Baby Boomers turned out alright. In fact the Boomers have been the back bone of the U.S. workforce since the 80’s. Most companies now a days are freaking out about how to replace their Boomer workforce. The Boomers possess all the companies “head knowledge” about how the company runs. Simultaneously companies are complaining about the incoming Millennials and their sense of entitlement. Does this all sound familiar? History is cyclical.  What we are really talking about when we talk about the Millennials is not the defining characteristics of a generation, no, we are talking about youthfulness. Youthfulness defined by Merriam-Webster- 1: of, relating to, or characteristic of youth <youthful inexperience>2: being young and not yet mature 3: marked by or possessing youth 4: having the vitality or freshness of youth.

Youthful Inexperience, that pretty much sums it up. As employers, we want, no, we need to backfill the vacuum of experience that will be left behind as the Boomers leave us. To do this we need mentor programs, cross training and a learning platform that lends itself to the way that Millennials prefer to learn. So, that’s what we want, but, what do the Millennials want? Amazingly enough, they want the same thing. Don’t believe me? A survey conducted by PWC and recently republished in KPCB’s 2015 Internet Trends Report reveals that millennials actually desire training and development more than other working benefits


When we talk about Millennials, really the only difference is how they want to learn. According to a survey by workplacetrends.com, Millennials want to learn online and have mentors. When asked what type of training would be most effective for their development as a leader, 68% said online classes and 53% said mentoring. Only 4% of millennials said University courses. That’s a thing of beauty isn’t it? What companies want is to get the next generation up to speed so they can take over for the aging workforce that is retiring, and, what the youngsters want is to be trained and mentored! So what’s the problem? Why haven’t you started a training and development program? Probably because it is easier to focus on the things the older generations wanted, job security, bonuses, company cars, and health benefits. I am not saying those things aren’t important, they are. But look at where they rank for the Millennials. Don’t know how to start a training program or don’t have the resources? I know some people, give us a call.

It’s like John Harvey once said, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

*This generation has many names, The Traditionals, The Silent Generation, The G.I. Generation. For me though, I just prefer The Greatest. They did storm Normandy Beach, take out Hitler and win WW2. What generation has done anything comparable to challenge that title?  

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