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Topics: Career Development, Resource Management, Talent Management
Pros & Cons of working with Millennials and iGens in Project Management

I'm seeking feedback into the Pros and Cons from those who have worked with Millennial (~1980 to 2000) or iGen (~2000 to present) team members. If you fit into one of these groups, please feel free to chime in as well!

If you're talking cons let's eliminate the stereotypes of lazy, self-absorbed, entitled, participation trophy for any activity and focus on what wasn't expected.

Based on my experience and research I've discovered that the younger generations can be very creative, passionate, expressive, work quickly with high accuracy and confidence, and take pride in and strive to make large positive impacts.

The only Con I can provide is that they don't fit into the "normal" working world. They value their own time and when a job is done want to go about their day. This can frustrate the employee or team as much as the employer or team leader/PM.

Please help shine some practical and experiential light on this subject!
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Kevin -

Meaning & purpose are extremely important to those who have recently entered the workforce, hence the somewhat dated concept of "paying one's dues" in the first full-time job or two is not likely to resonate with them unless the work they are doing is meaningful.


Communication preferences tend to differ between generations which can be challenging. While the younger generations are often highly adept at online tools such as various types of instant messaging, and can teach some great tools and tricks to use them effectively, they're not always the most effective for all situations. A quick phone call or face to face visit can avoid a long IM or email chain, but that can seem uncomfortable without some practice.

Interesting topic and yet can be really a ‘sensitive’ one depending on maturity level, perception of life, etc the list goes on...

Bearing in mind I had already mistakenly ‘categorised’ in the first group you described in few occassions, it actually turned out to my advantage, in getting things done by the ‘actual’ millenials so that’s a huge benefit! On the other hand, in one place I did find it rather annoying-to quote an example, a task as simple as booking a meeting room was such a big deal (big no no) for this one person, when (almost) everyone else regardless level do it themselves (normality). It would be a long way (if not-no way) for that person to become a PM one day!

I really upset when people talk about anyenials including it I have participated in the last years in open debates inside the PMI World Tour. There is nothing new below the sun. What young people demand is the same people demanded in the past but one of the key factors that people that tried to maintain the status-quo is upset is they are exposed to information and they kindoms are falling down. Nothing new below the sun. Is the same when you take a look the the history of the world and the human being.

Thank you all for your replies. I know this can be a sensitive and dangerous subject.

My purpose in asking for other professionals input is that I'm working to create a presentation to dispel or break the negative mentality when it comes to working with the younger generations. Your feedback will help me to develop my presentation further. I'm hoping to present at a PMI event in the future. The inspiration for this came from a presentation I attended at the PMI Symposium in Washington D.C. last November.

Again, thank you all for your input!

I, being a millennial, think a pro to working with other millennials is the fact that most see a bigger picture. They see where a project could take the company, the benefits or organizational change, etc. They are more willing to embrace the change than some other generations, but that does not mean they are easy to deal with either.

I do agree with Keith that communication is a struggle. I tend to prefer email communications so I have decisions documented, but things are lost in written communication, and would best be handled as verbal communications whether that be in formal or informal meetings. I seem to think millennials do not like face to face meetings which could be detrimental to forward progress in not just projects, but their career as well.

Personally, I've never noticed a large difference between baby boomers, Gen X, Millennial, or any other age group. People of different ages might have different defining moments of their generation (I can't remember JFK's assassination like some of my co-workers, but I can remember where I was when the Berlin Wall came down, and I now work with people who weren't alive in 2001 when the World Trade Center came down), but we ultimately have the same individual motivators. Pick one of the well-known models (Herzberg, Maslow, etc.) and you'll probably find that they apply to all age groups.

Along those lines, I don't see any specific pros or cons of any age group, with two exceptions. If you have no millennials or younger, you probably have an older workforce and you're not developing the talent you'll need when everyone else retires. If your workforce is too young, though, then you may lack the benefit of learning from previous experience- prepare to make common, rookie mistakes that should have been avoided.

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- Homer Simpson



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