Developing millenniaIs into your firm's next generation of leaders.

Author:McDonald, Paul
Position:Conference news

"I don't get them."

"When I was their age ..."

"I don't know how to talk to them."

Have you had any of these thoughts about members of Generation Y, the MillenniaIs? If you have, it's time to stop and adopt a new mindset. They're a highly educated, innovative force that has swept through the workplace and now influences every level of their organizations. If you're not actively recruiting, developing and working to retain Gen Y professionals, you're losing competitive edge.

Businessweek's Matthew Philips recently reported, "According to U.S. Census data, there are more people in their twenties (44.5 million) than in their thirties (41 million), forties (41.7 million), or fifties (43.8 million)." These professionals are very much a part of your firm's present--and future.

What steps can you take to groom MillenniaIs into your next generation of leaders?

Managing MillenniaIs

Start by learning what makes them tick. For most MillenniaIs, their core desires are like those of every other generational group-a job they enjoy and is a source of pride, a manager they respect and can learn from, fair compensation, and the ability to balance their professional and personal lives.

At the same time, there are unique attributes common among members of this generation. For one, they frequently crave feedback. You can tap into this need and foster passion and commitment from these employees by helping them answer:

* Where am I going in my career?

* What's important to my company?

* How does my role help the company reach its objectives?

* How can my company and my manager help me reach my goals?

Ongoing communication is key. Be positive, but also genuine, providing constructive criticism as needed. Don't wait for formal performance review periods, however. Provide your feedback in real time.

Keep in mind that communication flow should be two-way. MillenniaIs want to level the hierarchy and have a voice. Work together to target initiatives these employees feel are a fit for their skills and goals, and, when possible, assign them to leadership positions on project teams. Similarly, collaborate on identifying educational opportunities that can help them build their expertise and learn from different perspectives.

Critically, make sure your technology and financial systems are up to date. The ability to work with the latest tech tools can help influence Gen Y accounting and finance professionals when deciding whether to join and stay with your organization. If...

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