Turning Millennials into Managers: Yes, it Can be Done

Is any generation more disparaged in the workplace than Millennials? They’re entitled, some say. They want too many perks and aren’t quite as disciplined as past generations. So what to do about the fact that Baby Boomers are retiring in droves and businesses need a new crop of managers? The first thing to do is let go of the stereotypes.

Millennials are talented, young, and bring fresh ideas to the table. They’re also incredibly tech savvy. And it’s not as if you need to wave a wand that turns them into managers overnight. Gen X is already comfortably seated in those positions. Don’t be shy about hiring Millennials and training up the ones you’ve got on staff. They have what it takes, and could really surprise you in time.

RELATED: How to Help Mold the Job Skills of Millennials

Most companies think Millennials can’t handle management positions, says Lynda marketing manager, Paul Petrone, at LinkedIn. But the day is coming when the generation must be tapped.

Gen X isn’t as large as the Baby Boomer or Millennial generations, and Boomers are retiring at an astonishing rate. The Washington Post estimates that about 10,000 retire every day. And Gen X won’t be young-ish forever.

Management Might Need to Adapt

The idea of Millennials in those roles might give you pause. Only 15 percent of executives and 30 percent of HR executives believe that their hiring pipeline is prepared for the mass exodus of Baby Boomers and the shift toward Millennials. That will have to change.

Petrone says, “Organizations need to rethink the way they develop their own people.” At present, too few companies – about 39 percent – put forth any meaningful effort toward developing Millennials into managers. Perhaps worse, only about 15 percent of Millennials say that they feel adequately trained. But that sentiment should be encouraging. If they want more training, they probably have the desire to grow.


Millennials Won’t Magically Become Managers

Petrone suggests that some companies aren’t training because they aren’t entirely sure how. Maybe they believe all of the hype about this younger generation. But if you embrace the idea of building your own managers from within, you’ll be ahead of the game. Your competitors aren’t prepared to accept the shift in the hierarchy.

Teach Millennials how to be managers, he says. If you wait to train until someone advances into a management position, you’ll be a step behind. Let them sit in on meetings and give them access to mentors and online management training classes. Weave leadership and manager development into your company’s core values.

Build talent from within. That’s how companies will move seamlessly into the future with Millennials in leadership roles. This generation has an incredible amount of talent to offer. They’re natural tech geeks, having been the first generation to grow up with it. And they’re bright and even ambitious.

Don’t believe all of the nay-sayers who talk about a lack of discipline and ambition. Millennials even outpace Gen Xers (by a long shot) when it comes to saving money, says Bankrate. They’re smarter about debt and more successful than they’re given credit for. If you value Millennials, your company will be in line for rich rewards as Boomers head off to their next phase of life.

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