What HR Professionals Should Know About Millennials

Dan Schawbel

One million Millennials are entering the workplace each year. Also referred to as Gen Y, Millennials are the largest, most diverse and most educated generation we've ever seen. They will make up 36 percent of the American workforce by next year and three quarters of the global workforce by 2025. The problem most HR professionals face with Millennials is that Millennials see themselves as mobile — they move jobs on average once every two years — and have viewed by their managers as hard to engage with. These problems will only become bigger when corporations start to think about succession planning. If Millennials are quick to leave, how are they going to become future leaders? As a founder of Millennial Branding, a research and consulting firm focused on Gen Y, here are three things I've learned that HR professionals need to know about Millennials:

1. They like you. In a new study we conducted in partnership with American Express, we found that Millennials have a positive view of their managers. They view their managers as having experience and wisdom, and being willing to mentor. Managers, on the other hand, generally hold a negative view of their Millennial employees. Managers tend to view Millennials as entitled and lazy. If you want to recruit and retain Millennials, you have to drop the media stereotypes and give them a chance.

2. They want to make a difference in the world. More than 80 percent of Millennials say that making a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition, according to findings reported by Bentley University's Center for Women and Business. Millennials want companies to support their local communities and they are really into community service. They don't want to work for a company that's in business just to make a profit.

3. They are obsessed with social media. They sleep with their mobile phones and are always logged into Facebook. If you block social networks at work, they will just open their smartphones. Many won't even consider working for you if you don't allow them to use social media in the first place. Companies should embrace social media because it's the easiest way to engage with millennials who spend a few hours each day on them.

For more insights on Millennials check out an excerpt from Dan Schawbel's new book Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success and a the webcast from the book launch.