Dear Matt: I’m a talented, hardworking millennial who is an asset to my large company. But my manager just doesn’t seem to like us younger workers and it’s affecting my ability to get promoted. Why do companies think employees in their late 20s can’t be leaders?
Matt says: This generation (born between 1980 and the early 2000s) has been labeled as entitled, self-centered and not willing to work hard but expecting to be rewarded in return, among other things. But the fact is, there are some pretty talented millennials making an impact throughout the Twin Cities.
So why won’t companies promote, hire or train a talented millennial? Various factors come into play, says Tony Sorensen, CEO of Versique Search (versique.com) and Consulting and McKinley Consulting (mckinleyconsulting.com). millennials typically transition jobs more frequently than employees from the previous generation, which can cause hiring managers to assume they’ll lose younger employees quicker, making it harder to justify investing time and money in them. “Unfortunately, this trend can translate into the organization missing out on valuable talent and millennials feeling undervalued,” says Sorensen.
So how can today’s younger, but talented professional climb the company ladder? Consider these five tips, says Sorensen:
1. Form a relationship with your superiors. Invite your manager out to coffee or lunch, or just schedule a meeting to discuss the future of the company and your role in it. Make a point to ask about organizational goals and what you need to do in order to move up in the company. Showing initiative goes a long way.
2. Learn from the best. Learn everything you can from the employees your manager values. They might be getting promoted for reasons other than their age or experience level. If you tap into their methods, it can give you insight into what your organization wants in higher level employees.
3. Don’t get stuck in a rut because you think your millennial status is holding you back. Keep performing like you’re working for the promotion, even if you feel discouraged. The last thing you want your boss to think is that you fit his view of a “typical millennial” and you complain about it. Stay positive.
4. Don’t let your assumptions affect you. If you assume your boss thinks negatively about you because you are a millennial, you could put up roadblocks between the two of you and end up hurting your chances of advancing. If you don’t want your managers to assume things about you, you should not assume things about them.
5. Communicate with your manager. Don’t view this problem as unsolvable. Simply talk to your boss about your goals and work together to find a solution. If you’re both clear about expectations, the guessing game will end and you’ll be better off for it.
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