Do you have a kids table in your organization? The one you place young professionals, baby bankers, “those” entrepreneurs working out of coffee shops on pipe dreams and $6-dollar americanos?
Burn it. Burn it down.
In the U.S., roughly 73 million Millennials were born between 1980 and 1996 (Gallup, 2016). Fast forward to 2018, and they have fully arrived. They’ve entered the work force and are the “young” folks sitting across from you at lunch, commuting on your train, and your neighbors. Today, they range from 22 to 38 years old, are looking for experiences the vastly differ from generations in years past. Embrace the disruption; your organization will thank you.
Everybody matters. Millennials want to work towards creating a better tomorrow, and want an instant buy in. Some may see this as entitlement; let’s flip the script. Chambers thrive off instant buy in. That feeling someone gets when they realize they can contribute to the success of local business? Millennials love that. They also love that chambers are a breeding ground for opportunity. Chambers can be bogged down by the constant churn of transition. Millennials transition quickly, and are constant multi-taskers (as I’m writing I’m also listening to my all-time favorite band, Hootie & the Blowfish, finishing up notes for a prospective member meeting, and I just started chewing a piece of gum). Turn the often-over-dramatized challenges associated with Millennials into opportunities, and both your organization and your newest members will prosper.
Access. Provide access. At the end of the day, isn’t this a core function of chambers and associations? So why are we yellow caution tapping Millennials out of their own experiences? Want a Millennial perspective? Ask. Bring them to your meetings, begin to discuss with your Board about how to develop talent pipelines that include the next generation. Communities transition, workforce ages, and those seats will soon be empty. Future planning starts today.
Inclusion. If you are currently in your 60’s, at one point in your career, you were the youngest at the table, the office, the firm. You weren’t called a Millennial, but you essentially filled the same role. Instead of tearing them down, label, and lessen, let’s build them up, practice inclusivity, and create partnerships. This is mentoring, in fancy millennial verbiage. Every business owner and representative want to be heard. This is the perfect opportunity to create legacy moments, where both parties benefit and grow.
I love the phrase “Diversity is being asked to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.” Turn on the soundtrack to your community and invite your next generation of leaders inside your organization. Millennials are great dancers; all you’ve got to do is ask.