Millennials Don't Scoop Ice Cream

The rate of teen employment has dropped significantly over the last two decades. While the majority of teens in the 1970's and 80's worked during summer vacation, less than 1/3 of last summer's teens held a paying job. Instead, they:
  • Enrolled in high school or college courses
  • Did unpaid community service work as part of their graduation requirements
  • Took unpaid professional internships to bolster their college applications
While these activities make Millennials more attractive to colleges, there is a noticeable downside. Once Millennials enter the workforce, they lack the experience with service and administrative tasks that past generations gained from summer jobs. Many also enter the workforce not having experience with pay checks, requests for time off, and other requirements germane to employment. This unfamiliarity with the world of work has put Millennials at odds with older hiring managers, who express disbelief when their young employees do not accept "grunt work," take time off without approval, or ask for a raise because their net pay does not cover living expenses. The misunderstandings that ensue on both sides are time consuming and expensive.

To reconcile this problematic divide, employers must retool their hiring and onboarding practices to include more education on the fundamentals of work and to align expectations about the company, culture and roles. Without this knowledge, Millennials begin jobs on shaky ground that is difficult to correct down the road.

For more insight and strategies on how to integrate Millennials in to your organization for long-term success, register for my upcoming webcast, New Hire Onboarding - Practical Advice to Boost Performance & Retention, or contact me directly

Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group
Workforce Strategies for the New Economy