Recently I was giving a speech on Millennials to an HR group and when it came time for questions, one of the participants commented that based on what I had presented, she felt that  the Individual Contributor concept was on its last legs.  Individual Contributors are people in organizations who are not part of a team or who work in a team but who have to show results as an individual apart from the team contribution.   I completely agreed with her assessment:  the individual contributor was on its last legs. 

From what I can tell by having closely observed Millennials in a work setting, they rarely work alone.  They are natural collaborators always seeking input, involvement, feedback and knowledge from their peers.  They don’t do it because they feel it’s required; they do it because they work best that way.

In many companies the idea of the Individual Contributor is still part of the merit or bonus compensation model.  As I began to see just how collaborative the Millennials in my team were, I had to find ways to break down that collaboration in order to fit the individual contributor portion of the merit and bonus measure.  It was very difficult to do and created overhead that was just not necessary.

Over the next few years,  as Millennials increase in numbers in the workplace, the collaborative contributions made by teams will either override or outweigh that of the individual.  That’s a good thing because bringing different perspectives together to look at a problem or a challenge increases the spark of innovation that can lead to great ideas.  We need that spark in corporate America, don’t you think?