Why I Support Millennials: My TEDx Talk

Why I Support Millennials: My TEDx TalkDo you have a bucket list? I just crossed a big one off mine – delivering a TEDx talk!

My client, Estée Lauder, presented the opportunity to me. It was gratifying to be invited, amazing to watch other live talks and inspirational to see the positive response to my key message: Millennials are our future; let’s stop bashing them.

Griping About Millennials? So Old School

It’s certainly no secret that Millennials have a bad rap. Of course, it’s not a new phenomenon to hear complaints about young people: Gen Xers, like me, were called slackers. Baby Boomers were the original “me” generation.

Why are we so committed to bashing our future generation after generation? And what would happen if we stopped doing this?

Supporting Millennials? It’s Good Business.

During my TEDx talk, I issued this challenge: What if we wholeheartedly, unabashedly, enthusiastically supported young professionals? What if we set our expectations for millennials extremely high, and young professionals lived up to those expectations?

It’s not that I’m a Pollyanna or because supporting millennials would be the nice thing to do. (Well, honestly, I am kind of a Pollyanna and I do think it’s the nice thing to do…) I’m suggesting this supportive approach because it’s just good business.

[bctt tweet=”Supporting millennials isn’t just the nice thing to do. It’s good business.” username=”lindseypollak”]

What’s Good for Customers Is Good for Employees

Sometimes I find myself scratching my head about the disconnect between what companies are willing to do for their millennial customers and what they want to do for their employees.

“Millennials respond to trophies?” say the marketers. “Great! Let’s give them trophies! How big? How shiny? What’s the hashtag?”

But when employees want trophies, we tend to say, “Those millennials are so entitled! No one gave me trophies when I was starting out!”

It’s always an “aha” moment for my audiences when I point that out, and it seemed to resonate with the Estée Lauder group. After all, one of their core constituencies is millennials and they are very successful at knowing how to reach them.

The Bottom Line

Even if you don’t like the way millennials want to be managed or the changes they are bringing to the workplace, the fact remains that this generation is here, it’s huge and it’s not going anywhere.

The companies that continue to be negative about millennials will not have a viable workforce in 20 years. The companies that take a positive approach will succeed in winning the future. And I believe they’ll enjoy the journey a lot more as well.

I’d love to hear what you think. Do you think it’s important to support younger generations? How are young employees changing your business? Tell me in the comments below!

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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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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