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In 2020, 46% of Professionals will be Millennials… and 54% will not!

Dernière mise à jour : juil. 6




For those of us who have been living in a cave over the last 15 years, and as well for those who have not but would still be “fine with a little refresher”, let’s all start on the same page:


[Millennials]: Also known as Generation Y (or simply Gen Y), Millennials are the demographic cohort with the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years, with 1981 to 1996 a widely accepted definition. Millennials are sometimes referred to as "echo boomers" due to a major surge in birth rates in the 1980s and 1990s, and because millennials are often the children of the baby boomers (1946 to 1961) and the Gen X (1961 to 1981).


Now that we are all on the same page, here is actually what we should focus on: “They are often the children of…”. We all know it, parents-children relationships can be very… “interesting”.

Being often told that I am an “old man in the body of a young one”, for once I will use this statement as an opportunity to be balanced and try to stay as objective as possible while writing this article. Although be aware, I am myself a Millennial.



I have been over the years: working with, recruiting, managing, promoting, firing, training, coaching… Millennials and Non-Millennials. And I have progressively built a good level of awareness of the key characteristics of both populations. In a nutshell, here are some of their key personality traits:


MILLENNIALS (Gen Y):

  • Pros: Ambitious, Mature, Well-Connected, Driven, Passionate, Creative, Selfless, Structured, Client-Focused.

  • Cons: Impatient, Think they know-it all, Over-confident, Selfish, Aggressive, Disorganized, Entitled.

NON-MILLENNIALS (Gen X):

  • Pros: Ambitious, Mature, Well-Connected, Driven, Passionate, Creative, Selfless, Structured, Client-Focused.

  • Cons: Impatient, Think they know-it all, Over-confident, Selfish, Aggressive, Disorganized, Entitled.


Yes, you read twice the same thing. No, it is not a mistake… (and yes, it is a Copy/Paste).

Effectively, we are all the same. Millennials are a generation that saw Mark Zuckerberg (a college dropout) or Kylie Jenner (a high-school graduate) become billionaires in their early 20s. Non-Millennials are a generation that grew-up with Jane Fonda being a beauty and fashion icon in her 20s and still being a beauty and fashion icon on her 80s.


To sum-up, for both generations: EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE and no matter your age, you can be at the top.



As everything is possible, both populations want to make sure they don’t miss out on life and on professional opportunities in order to make sure they become the best version of their professional self.


We are now at the dawn of the perfect populations’ equilibrium between both generations in the workforce. Tomorrow, there will be as many Millennials in companies as Non-Millennials. It needs to mark the start of a change, preventing a professional 3rd World War between those who think they know better against the other ones who think they know better.


This required change can be summarized with 1 word: LISTENING.



Being the best version of your professional self includes the intervention of others. In order to maximize it, more than ever before, you will need to work and connect with everyone… like everyone.


You will need to collaborate with Kelly, the data-analyst-intern who daily snapchats her #outfitoftheday on her way to work, as well as with Albert, the head of department who sends 2 emails a day but 25 faxes… (yes, it still exists).

We all know a Kelly and an Albert. We might be a Kelly or an Albert through the eyes of someone else.


We have reached a point where Kelly and Albert need now to talk to each other, to know each other, to understand each other and even to care about each other. We need to make sure we understand that Kelly’s professional survival and growth is linked to Albert’s professional survival and growth.


Albert needs to be convinced that Kelly's creativity and energy is the future of the company. Equally, Kelly needs to be convinced that Albert's discipline and structure is the cornerstone of the organization.


They both need to proactively act to make each other successful. The success and prosperity of the company depends on it.

It is actually time to reinforce this parents-children-like relationships between Gen X and Gen Y in the professional environment. Why? Because parents want the best for their kids and kids need to learn from their parents in order to develop and maximize their potential.



If we don’t apply this approach, kids (Millennials) will leave the house (company) too early because they will believe their potential is maximized already. Parents (Gen X) will look down on their kids and will consider them as immature babies, unable to bring as much value as them at their age. And finally, companies will be left with growing Millennials who will have only half of the knowledge they could have had if retiring Gen X would have gladly shared the experience they had cumulated over the last 40 years.


Eventually, companies facing this scenario will fail to the profit of companies who will have mastered the art of generational cohesion and transition.

As a manager, a team leader, a CEO, part of your success resides in creating bridges between both generations. You need to find the tools to create social and professional interactions leading to the promotion of a unique cultural/generational truth: your company’s.


As a team member, an employee, whoever you are surrounded by: reach out, help, understand, spend time with and care. Embrace this generational gap in order to squeeze the most out of it and learn from your neighbor.


To conclude: Kids have always a hard time when their parents are gone forever. The same way, parents have always a hard time when their kids leave the nest. In both situations, usually regrets come right after and we wish we would have enjoyed and capitalized a bit more on our time together. But it’s too late.


Let’s not fall in the trap. Let’s simply get the most out of our time together.


As a little challenge for yourself, today, identify someone (you don’t know) from your company that belongs to the other generation. Go talk him or her with the biggest and most genuine smile on your face. No matter what happens, I am sure it will be a learning experience.


Hope you enjoyed.


PS:

If you are a Gen-X professional reading this article and you did not like it, I know you think you know better.
If you are a Gen-Y professional reading this article and you did not like it, I know you think you know better.

It’s in your generational DNA. ;)