Duke/CFO Survey: We’re Not Managing Millennials Well

Duke University and CFO Magazine recently released the latest set of results of their series of surveys asking CFOs about a variety of business issues, including millennials in the workforce. The latest data from the Duke/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey found CFOs saying their firms aren’t adapting to millennials very well and could do a better job managing them.

This week I’ve been reading about the survey and articles analyzing its highlights, as well as a couple that focus on how companies could do better by their millennial employees, especially with technology and providing leadership training. Read on to learn more.

  • CFO Survey: Few Companies Making Special Effort to Attract Millennials or Achieve Board Diversity Targets. Duke’s Fuqua School of Business: “More than 70 percent of CFOs say an advantage of hiring millennials is the technology savviness they bring to the job. Twenty-one percent of CFOs say millennials are more creative and innovative than other workers. More pragmatically, nearly half of surveyed CFOs acknowledge that millennials are less expensive to employ. At the same time, they say, millennials offer unique employment challenges. About 53 percent of CFOs say millennials are less loyal to the company, 46 percent say the group exhibits an attitude of entitlement and 31 percent believe millennials require more intense management. Twenty-seven percent of firms say young workers are more interested in their own personal development than they are in the company.”
  • Are Millennials too Spoiled for the Workplace? CBS News: “Companies aren’t really adapting to this new generation of workers, either. Only 21 percent are making work hours more flexible to accommodate millennials, the survey said, while 17 percent are allowing people to work from home, and just 10 percent are altering the corporate culture.”
  • Duke Study Concludes Millennials are More Creative but too Entitled. Triangle Business Journal: “‘One surprising finding is how few U.S. companies have instituted workplace changes to accommodate millennials,’ said John Graham, a finance professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and director of the survey. ‘In the United States, only 41 percent of companies have made changes to adapt to younger workers. Other regions of the world have been more accommodating: for example, about 70 percent of Latin American and Asian firms have adapted to hire/retain millennials. One wonders whether U.S. companies are adequately embracing the changes brought about by a younger workforce.’”
  • Recruiting and Retaining Millenials: How Technology Makes a Difference. Smartsheet: “Also known as digital natives, they grew up with 24/7 access to information, when they want it and how they want it. They are used to the ability to regularly update their personal devices to the latest and greatest. By matching these expectations in the office, they will work at faster speeds with devices that suit their personal work style.”
  • Millennial in Training. Workforce: “But learning to wield authority effectively and managing performance issues with sufficient toughness will need more and different developmental attention than previous generations.  Because much of their development experience has honed their ability to form and maintain peer network, they could find it difficult to be a boss. New millennial leaders are more likely than their predecessors to try to continue to play the role of peer rather than embrace what it truly means to be a leader.”


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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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