Talent Management Blog

If you are a member of Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976, you are often referred to as independent, self-reliant, mistrustful of institutions, and at times focused on your personal “back-up plan” – just in case things do not work out for you.  But the one value most remembered for Gen Xers is the mantra of work-life balance. Gen Xers watched their parents make tough choices often favoring their career and then, just as they approached retirement, these parents were left without a back-up plan. So Gen Xers come to the workplace wanting flexibility in their job so they can devote time to their families and personal well-being.
Enter the millennials, born between 1977 and 1997. They have morphed the idea of work-life balance into work-life blend. Instead of switching between professional mode and personal mode like Gen Xers, millennials are often in both modes at once!
This blending of work and life is a major finding of a new study, “Millennial Branding Gen-Y & Facebook Study,” of 4 million Gen Y Facebook profiles from a database of 50 million.
The top findings of this study include:
  1. Millennials, on average, are connected to 16 co-workers on Facebook. For these millennials, work and life are the same thing and they want to stay connected to colleagues, see their photos and keep in touch with their personal lives long after the work day is over.
  2. Only 7 percent of millennials list a Fortune 500 employer on their Facebook page, with the U.S. military being the largest millennial employer overall and the travel and hospitality industry attracting the greatest number of millennials (7.2 percent of sample). The top 10 industries and employers of millennials include:

Top Industries
Travel   7.2 percent
Consumer Products   6.8 percent
Government   4.5 percent
Technology   4.4 percent
Education   3.9 percent
Retail   3.6 percent
Finance   3.3 percent
Media   2.3 percent
Health care   2.1 percent
Nonprofit   1.1 percent

Top Employers
U.S. Army   3.2 percent
Walmart   0.53 percent
Starbucks   0.45 percent
Target   0.44 percent
Best Buy   0.38 percent
McDonald’s   0.28 percent
Abercrombie   0.26 percent
YMCA   0.23 percent
CVS   0.21 percent
UPS   0.20 percent

So what does this mean for you in HR and talent management?

  1. Expect millennials on your team to want to “friend” you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter and connect with you on LinkedIn.
  2. Retailers, such as Walmart, Starbucks, Target and Best Buy are the largest employers of millennials. These employers should consider investing heavily in training and development since millennial front-line workers today are the future store managers of tomorrow.
  3. While millennials “talk” about being entrepreneurial, they rank working for the government ranks as their third choice and in nonprofits as their 10th choice. This reinforces our view that overall millennials have a respect for authority. This clearly shows in their career choices. Our question to you: How can you leverage this “trust of authority” in the workplace? One suggestion: Expand opportunities for “group mentoring” where senior managers can mentor a group of millennials so mentoring becomes part  of the culture of your organization!
That’s our take; what’s yours? We want to hear from you – especially if you are a member of Gen X or a millennial. Send us your comments, and we will continue the dialogue.
About The Author

Jeanne Meister and Steve Dahlberg

Jeanne C. Meister is co-author of The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today (Harper Business, 2010) and co-host of the Social Learning Boot Camp. Jeanne is an internationally recognized workplace-learning consultant dedicated to delivering competitive advantage, innovation and improved business results for organizations. She was most recently vice president of Accenture Learning. Steven Dahlberg is partner and vice president of innovation for Future Workplace and co-host of the Social Learning Boot Camp. He collaborates across sectors to assist organizations in developing and applying creativity, innovation and learning. He co-hosts the Creativity in Play radio show, authored the foreword to Education is Everybody’s Business, and has written for Training magazine. Steven serves on the board of the National Creativity Network and has taught "Creativity + Social Change" at the University of Connecticut.

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