A Fundraiser’s Journey: Those #@*$ Millennials

A Fundraiser’s Journey Kelly Updike for PCNRC

Kelly Updike
I once wished I could hire only people who were older than 40. (You do not need to notify the HR police, as our workforce is happily age-diverse.)

I once laughed hard (hey, not to her face) after a young employee wanted to know why she made less money than a “much older” (her phrase) staffer. (Gee, I actually had to point out, it’s because that person had more experience and more responsibilities!)

I once … sorry, I could go on with a dozen more of these but that’s not really the point.

Millennials are taking a pounding about their (lack of) work ethic. Is it deserved?

Columnist and HR consultant J.T. O’Donnell recently wrote “Three Reasons Why Millennials Are Getting Fired.” It is at http://www.inc.com/jt-odonnell/3-reasons-millennials-are-getting-fired.html

This article, its links to other information and the posted comments are very thought-provoking. As employers, we need the passion and energy of a younger workforce. For many nonprofits, that’s also the salary range we can afford. How to deal?

As one colleague put it, we need to meet somewhere in the middle between ‘self-care’ and ‘workaholic.’

“I find this group fascinating,” she told me. “I am trying to be open-minded and know that we baby boomers can maybe learn something about balance from millennials.”

Another colleague added, “Unintentionally and unknowingly some employers have created this dilemma by placating to their presumed talented millennials who brought more ‘I want’ than ‘I will and I can.’”

Both noted that open communication can and does help overcome the problems.

“The actual difference is the changes in technology without corresponding changes in workplace composition,” opined a local millennial leader. “Every generation is less productive now than it used to be. The smart business adapts to technology and works human-centered interventions into the use of technology to stay productive.

“All of this being said,” he continued, “we are the first generation which was taught abstractly so that we would ace a test and not to have any kind of basic understanding of the way the world works.”

I’ve encountered poor workers in every age group. I can give you just as many “I once” stories about older employees as I can about the younger ones.

Maybe we stop doling out labels and stereotypes for each generation and simply tackle each issue and personality as they come our way. Being candid and then being ready to teach/coach or to activate appropriate consequences are key employer actions.

And I try to listen more, without snickering.

How about you?

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

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