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The New Millennial Workforce and Outplacement

December 30, 2014 by Raymond Lee

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Have you attended a little league sporting event recently?  You may or may not have noticed at the end of the game that the accolades are handed out like chewing gum.

Millennials sign in a conceptual image.jpeg

“Everyone did an awesome job!”  “Even though we lost, everyone on this team is a winner!” “Everyone is special!”

We make it a point to raise our kids to feel special.  Not that there’s anything wrong with this approach, but the shift in thinking from being gracious in defeat to “there’s no such thing as a loser” has created a new generation of adults to feel entitled to praise for just participating in life. To someone born in the 80’s or 90’s, better known as the Millennial generation, this “winning” mindset is a familiar one.

As a result, we now have an entire generation of young professionals entering the workforce armed with their “Most Improved” medals and their “Best Team Spirit” awards.  In addition, this group also likes their paper products “green” and their fast food from Chipotle.  They’re also the first generation to never know the struggle of attempting to open a new music CD case with a set of car keys.

By 2020 the Millennial Generation will represent 60% of the workforce.  As an employer, are you prepared to accommodate these individuals and their unique set of needs?

Gone are the days of recruiting employees by offering good wages and a pleasant office atmosphere. Jeans on Fridays?  That’s not special.  Generous health benefits?  They’re nice, but special?  I don’t think so. How about a game room, a company sponsored happy hour, or fresh fruit in the break room?  Nice gestures but sorry, still not special.

The Millennials are a unique bunch that feel entitled to more than a workstation made from recycled wood. This new crop of professionals are full of energy, entrepreneurial spirit and, if you turn your back for too long, they’re moving onto the next opportunity faster than you can say “Complimentary Muffin Monday”.

It’s not enough to offer all the bells and whistles.  Employers need to provide these folks an environment that promotes their individuality and the freedom to express themselves with no restrictions.  More specifically, they’re looking for jobs with a purpose.  They want to feel that their “specialness” is being used toward the greater good.  They want to be reassured that the work/life balance is being addressed.  And at the end of the day, they want to feel fulfilled by aligning themselves with a company that expresses empathy and kindness on a social level.

Just as important as providing a rewarding work environment, there’s no denying that we live in a time of a competitive job market and war for talent.  The Millennial workforce is not motivated by money; however they are looking for flexibility in their work, companies with cause and meaning, and the ability to be creative and think outside the box.

These shifting sands will impact the Millennials the most as they become a bigger part of the workforce.  Just as companies need to make fundamental changes in how they engage Millennial, outplacement firms need to do the same in their career transition programs.  20 years ago, the outplacement process was a fairly simple one; you received a binder and an office to visit to conduct your job search. You wrote a resume and faxed it to the company of choice; no social media, no technology, and no applicant tracking system to worry about.  It was an equation that served a purpose. But the “purpose” in today’s world of outplacement has taken on a new meaning.

No longer should outplacement services be focused on finding jobs, instead the focus should be on helping talented Millennials find the opportunities to fulfill their purpose; all delivered in an easily accessible, virtual platform that allows the individual to customize their next steps in finding their calling and purpose.

Raymond Lee

Raymond Lee

Raymond Lee is the President of Careerminds, a global outplacement company based in Wilmington, Delaware. He has over 20 years of human resource, outplacement, and career consulting experience. He has his bachelor’s in psychology and holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Louisiana Tech University. He is active in SHRM and ATD. Raymond’s been featured on SiriusXM Business Radio, CareerTalk, and the Wall Street Journal and he’s published a book titled, Clocking Out: A Stress-Free Guide to Career Transitions.

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