Millennial Leadership: How to lead and mentor a multi-generational workforce
Millennials are the largest segment of the workforce, surpassing Generation X in early 2015 and Baby Boomers in 2014. As the number of Millennials grows, 45 million Boomers remain in the workforce and Generation X holds strong at 52.7 million. The economic recession has delayed retirement for Baby Boomers and AARP reports that 70% of older workers want to work part-time and half expect to work past age 70 (Hush, Lui, & Pransky, 2006). The multi-generational workforce is a reality and not likely to change given the fact that the youngest Boomers are only 51 years old. Much of the literature addressing the multi-generational workforce has focused on managing Millennials, and little has focused on the Millennials leading and mentoring employees who are older than them.
Of the 53.5 million Millennials in the US labor force, many are in leadership as managers, Department heads, and C-suite executives. Millennials have an opportunity to excel in leading this multi-generational workforce. Innovation is an attribute of the Millennial generation they can leverage to create an age friendly work environment and a culture of mutual mentoring to increase retention, engagement, productivity, and the bottom line. This paper presents Millennial leaders with a five-step approach to lead and mentor employees of all ages. This leadership approach will enable Millennial leaders to establish their credibility, retain and engage a diverse team, increase their generational competence, foster a culture of learning and growth, and utilize mutual mentoring to elevate individuals within their organization.