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Generation gap between millennials and leadership is growing

May 1, 2015 – by Jip Samhoud &samhoud media

Millennial generation asks for different work conditions.

The young generation is standing up for better conditions in work and education. Last week we saw the 18-year-old Soufian Akir interrupting Ahold’s shareholders meeting and the demonstrations at the University of Amsterdam led to the resign of its president Louise Gunning. For me it makes sense that youngsters between the age of 18 and 30, also known as millennials, revolt. Since the majority of jobs will be filled by millenials from 2020 onwards, it’s about time that older generations learn new ways of attracting millennials into the workforce en make use of their full potential. The first step would be a redefinition of the work conditions.

Jip &samhoud mediaAs a young entrepreneur (25) I have fifteen employees of the millennial generation who work at &samhoud media and every month I talk to hundreds of millennials worldwide through our online platform. Co-entrepreneurs and directors should understand that my generation needs a different approach, because earning lots of money is not the highest motivation anymore. What does motivate the millennial? It starts by giving opportunities. Research shows that being challenged is the most important professional demand of the millennial. This means that employers and managers should start a conversation with the younger generation in the workplace. A conversation to find out which opportunities an employer is able to offer and the kind of challenge the employee searches for.

A millennial employer should focus more on inspiring than being a traditional boss; he or she should inspire the millennial to get the best out of themselves. The millennials love competition, but flexibility is important as well. Besides that, they want to work for attractive brands and at inspiring workplaces. When an employer is not able to offer this, the millennial will leave; this generation changes jobs more and more often.

There is a reason why my generation prefers to work for a startup company. Low wages and working as an intern at starting companies pays out in a lot of responsibility, challenges and competition, inspiration and the possibility to focus on personal growth and development. 

A high wage used to be the biggest motivation to work but top employers need to adjust their strategy to bind with the talented millennial, client as well as millennial employee. Research by The Intelligence Group shows that 64% of my generation aims at making the world a better place with their job. Here lies an important role for the employers to profile themselves in this area and show how they impact the world.

I am afraid that if employers do not engage in an extensive conversation and drastically change their leadership, there will be a lot more young insurgents. Nevertheless I am sure that if the leaders of today have the courage to adjust to be a top employer for young people, they will be surprised by the millennials’ energy and their views on the world and business.


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