I was born in 1985 so according to the US Census Bureau definition of Millennial (born between 1982-2000), I fall under this category. But so does my brother who was born in 1992. We are 7 years apart, 25 vs 32! I was born in the era of VHS's and cassettes --yes, they were still around!--, renting movies at Blockbuster, not to mention the lack of cellphones, social media, and even internet. My brother was born in the era when internet and mobile communications were taking off. I didn’t have a cellphone until my freshman year in college, while he got his first one while in junior high. I used a portable CD player, he used an iPod. We are different not only because we were born almost a decade apart, but because we are motivated by very different things. And yes, it has a lot to do with our personally traits, but it also has a lot to do with the fact that I am an 80’s Millennial and he is a 90’s Millennial.
So what does this mean in the workplace? It means that you have two types of Millennials in the workplace right now: the mid- level Millennial and the entry-level Millennial.
Let’s talk about the mid-level career Millennials first. These Millennials entered the workplace probably between 2006 and 2010 which means some of these have over 10 years of experience under their belts. Some of these Millennials—the real go-getters-- are managers, supervisors and even high level executives at this point. They are experts in their field and they are respected by their peers and superiors alike.
Now let’s look at the entry level Millennials: they have been entering the workforce in the last 2 or 3 years which means they don’t have much experience in the workplace. These Millennials are barely starting to build their experience portfolio, but they are extremely savvy and very motivated. They are also starting to establish themselves as trusted professionals and experts.
Looking at these two very different groups of Millennials, it’s not so hard to understand why they need to be approached differently. Mid-level career Millennials need to be treated as experts and be provided more opportunities to lead teams and drive decision making and for entry-level Millennials, provide more opportunities to build on their skills and hone in areas of expertise. In the end, what we really crave is to have a direct impact to the mission of the organizations we support.