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Millennial Musings #1
How can we motivate our Millennials in this post-Brexit world?

Even before Brexit, many young people were feeling cast adrift. 

The Millennials (born between 1984 and 1992) have much to be angry about. From where they are looking, the Baby Boomers have had the benefit of a free higher education, live in homes that have rocketed in value, and enjoyed being part of a globalised and cosmopolitan society.

European mobility has been an integral part of the millennial's upbringing. Now on top of finding themselves saddled with huge debt and hard shouldered off the housing ladder, they face the prospect of being denied the right to travel freely, study or work in 27 Union countries. 

Small wonder, then, that so many of our young people, for whom sovereignty is an outdated notion, and national borders a geographical and historical construct, feel betrayed. Of course many of them also failed to vote. But given the unedifying spectacle of the last few days, and indeed the preceding few months, who can blame them?

So the older generation voted for a future the younger don't want, and there will be consequences. Some of these will be felt in the workplace, where these "digital natives" are so desperately needed. And because millennials matter, and the ability to attract and retain millennial talent is a key determinant of the most successful companies (google, Apple) we need to understand them, and what motivates them. 

There has been a lot of research about this. Having surveyed the field, I can tell you that the conclusions are remarkably congruent. These include evidence that young people don't want a boss, they want a mentor. They don't want to be managed, they want to be coached. They don't want rigidity, they want flexibility. They don't want to be someone else at work, they want to be themselves. And they want to be listened to, and not talked at.

And without these things, and as their knowledge and abilities increase, they will look for opportunities elsewhere and move on as soon as they can. Maybe to Milan, Frankfurt, Paris or Rome, while they still can. Or to Scotland. 

How is this affected by Brexit? One more certainty has been removed. Another set of obstacles has been placed in the way. And as we all come to terms with the prospect of a more uncertain future, think how much more difficult this is for the young people who work with, and for, you, who by and large didn't vote for it, and work harder to understand them.

And that's just those from the UK. The many thousands of young European Union citizens who live and work in the UK, fuelling our tech start-ups, our creative industries and much else besides, must feel fearful, anxious and possibly angry, and they need to be heard, too. 

Because millennials matter, and the ability to attract and retain millennial talent is a key determinant of the most successful companies, we need to understand them, and what motivates them.
Young people don't want a boss, they want a mentor. They don't want to be managed, they want to be coached. They don't want rigidity, they want flexibility. They don't want to be someone else at work, they want to be themselves. And they want to be listened to, and not talked at.