By 2020, nearly 50% of the U.S. workforce will be made up of Millennials, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they are going to change the workplace as we know it.
This new generation is bringing with it an entire new wave of office culture and work ethic, says Jennifer Kushell, president and founder of YSN, a company that specializes in helping young adults transition to the workforce. “You have to look at this new generation very differently. They don’t play by the same rules as other generations.”
Kushell, who is also the author of Secrets of the Young & Successful, adds that the mindset of these workers can be off putting to employers.
“A lot of companies are very frustrated by younger people in the workplace and what we’re trying to say is, let’s change the tone.”
To be successful in the work force, Kushell recommends Millennials focus on developing several vital skills to improve their value in the workplace and focus on their own ambition, skills, expertise and context.
“The idea of being a worker drone doesn’t resonate with the younger demographic. They are known to switch jobs very quickly. They’re fickle, they have short attention span and they get bored easily. You don’t want those people in your company,” says Kushell. To help progress their career, she advises Millennials to show employers they’re more than just a warm body.
“For young people who are entering the working world, it’s critical that you care. That’s one thing that’s missing from a lot of conversations.”
Kushell recommends young workers develop skills that are transferable between jobs as well as enhance their “soft skills.”
“Presentation skills, the ability to look someone in the eye, present something, you know, with some passion, some energy – those are things that are missing,” she says.
For those Millennials who blame their lack of experience as their main obstacle from being hired, Kushell encourages them to build experience and find opportunities outside of the office setting.
“I think too many people are waiting for a job to get experience. Every single day we have an opportunity to volunteer somewhere, to work on a project, to do some consulting.”
Kushell says it’s important for Millennials to learn as much as they can about the industry and employers they are interested in working with.
“Young people entering the workforce is like throwing a young person into Korea. It’s a new language, new terms, new culture, new everything. So we have to understand that the transition alone is something that requires some taking used to. Let’s not wait for a young person to graduate college to throw them into an office. Give them those touch points earlier.”