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Archives for July 2013

When should I fire a Millennial who’s not working out?

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I get asked regularly, “When should I fire a Millennial?” and “When are the performance issues really MY fault?” My book, Sticking Points, provides over 100 ideas for making your workplace more attractive to Millennials. I usually caution managers to give employees the benefit of the doubt and to try some of the 100 ideas before they start canning people. But you know as well as I do – you can only do so much with some people.

It’s simple: if an employee’s underperformance is bothering you, it’s bothering other Millennials on the team. Just like the employees of any generation, Millennials are looking to you to provide leadership and to hold people to consistent and fair standards. I saw an example of this in my own home last summer.

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Making or breaking markets: Hail the power of Millennial tribes!

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The Millennials are the most tribal generation – and that characteristic is already making significant impact on our workplaces, homes, and markets. How and why are Millennials more tribal? How is this changing our world?

The tribe of Barney

Children’s programming began to reflect the generational shift. Sesame Street taught individuals they were unique; Barney, the purple dinosaur, emphasized getting along with the group and paying attention to other people’s feelings. Every episode had a group hug… and Millennials are huggers. They give full frontal hugs to their friends, while their parents are sent to sensitivity training which discourages anything but handshakes and fist bumps at work.

Unlike the Boomers who grew up in a competitive environment where collaboration was called “cheating,” Millennials did homework in groups. Two out of three Millennials usually socialize in larger groups rather than with one or two friends, and loyalty to friends is one of their highest values.

The Millennials went to preschool in teams, and elementary schools de-emphasized Boomer-era class presidents and hall monitors, instead engaging whole classes in decision-making and problem-solving. By fourth grade, Millennials were doing peer conflict resolution coaching.

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