Don’t discount Millennials solely based on perception.
I often hear that tomorrow’s business generation of Millennials (today’s high school and college kids) do not possess the skills needed to make it the professional world.
I hear that young people can’t look you in the eye, carry on a conversation, or communicate other than by text.
I have also heard comments that many of today’s youth are lazy, selfish, and disloyal.
While I would agree that there probably is some amount of truth to those statements, I also believe that those attributes can be true of any generation.
It’s fair to say that the next generation of business professionals will be much different from the retiring baby boomers or generation X.
I think that is a good thing.
I recently spent several hours talking to numerous local college students at the Illinois State University Internship Fair.
As a new business owner, I didn’t come in with high expectations. Honestly, I really didn’t have any expectations.
I figured I would touch base with a few college kids handing out resumes with their heads down, mumbling some gibberish about how they are looking for an internship, say thanks, and walk away.
Instead, I spent 3 hours talking with 18–24 year olds who were focused, prepared, dynamic, passionate, and eager to discuss how they can bring value to my business.
Quite honestly, I was blown away and re-energized for the future.
I am aware that the students who came to the internship are the higher performing students. I understand that this is a small sample size of the entire student population. It doesn’t change my opinion.
The 50 or so students I spoke with were impressive. Not just in the communication and preparedness, but in the skill sets they brought to the table.
Some of you may be thinking, why does this matter, why should I care?
I think there is a huge opportunity for experienced business owners and sales managers to utilize the talents and vision of future professionals.
Instead of discounting the next generation because they socialize and communicate differently, take time to find opportunities to leverage their strengths.
Any experienced business owner or manager will always have an abundance of knowledge and experience to share, and they should. At the same time, there are always new ideas to learn and ways to innovate. That can’t be overlooked.
One important concept needs to be understood as well. Not only will high school and college students bring new ideas and ways of communication to the workforce, but they will also soon be entrepreneurs, business owners, and consumers.
Remember, people buy from people and companies they know, like, and trust.
The next generation moving into the workforce is not perfect. That is true of any generation, but they definitely should not be overlooked. I believe the future is bright indeed.
Brent Kelly is the CEO of BizzGrizz, a company that specializes in helping small business owners become more profitable and efficient through payment, energy, and marketing solutions.