Why? Understanding the Millennial mindset at the C level is critical to acknowledge and understand how and why this new workforce is so unfamiliar to us.  We have 2 choices:  complain and reject them or connect and capitalize on their talents.

The first choice is easy and many of us are doing that now.  We may feel better when we complain but it doesn’t change anything.  According to demographers,  in less than 5 years, 50% of the workforce will be the very same workforce we are rejecting today.  Smart executives are opting for the second choice.

Connecting with Millennials means we have to let go of the status quo so to speak and get out of our comfort zones.  For us to truly understand them we have to work among them. This is the first step to initiate change in the corporate structure to begin to capitalize on their talents.  We can’t capitalize if we don’t see it in action.  Working comfortably in our offices on the executive floor of our organizations has isolated us from what is happening in the trenches, at the ground level. Occasionally walking around the department or having a working lunch with our team doesn’t give us much insight either. 

It’s when we spend time with our team especially the Millennials that we see the hidden potential they offer and they get to feel comfortable with us and share their ideas.  When I first did this I felt awkward and uncomfortable and almost stopped the effort. But I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and stuck with it just a baby step at a time.  The results were amazing.  It gave me the courage to continue challenging the management principles I had acquired and adapt them for the 21st Century workforce I was leading. 

Today, the number of Millennials in the workplace is small.  They are just gently tapping on our management door and rattling our cage a bit.  In the very near future, they will be a large percentage of our workforce and instead of tapping, they will be knocking the door down.  

Do you want to follow them now or be run over later?