Compliments of Mike Vidikan via Flickr

Compliments of Mike Vidikan via Flickr

Video spoofs, research, and web editorials have labeled Millennials (born 1983 – 2001) as narcissistic, entitled, disaffected, and sometimes downright lazy. These characterizations in my opinion could not be further from the truth.

Let me tell you about my Millennials.

My Principles of Management EXL students (divided into four teams) undertook a project that required self-discipline, team work, numerous practice sessions, and a copious amount of professionalism and creativity. They were charged with crafting presentations for executives. From the Course Syllabus:

In 15 minutes, your team will compellingly demonstrate to MTSU’s “corporate partners:”

  • The definition of civility: how have companies defined this dimension at work?
  • Why it’s important in light of your team’s specific incivility emphasis (e.g., hazing, emotional abuse, mobbing, or stalking). You will need to define your dimension, provide real world examples of how it has manifested, and describe the fallout for employees and corporate reputation; and lastly:
  • How to change corporate culture to embrace civility.


In The Secret to Attracting Top Level Talent to your Firm, Joseph (a millennial himself), provides the following advice to firms wishing to attract a generation that will – by 2020 – comprise 46 percent of the work force:

Formalize a networking and mentorship structure. It’s been well known that millennials value feedback, however, supplement this mentorship with networking opportunities to engage your millennials on a whole new level. They want to become better public speakers. They want to develop professional networks that will support them when they go out and try their own luck.”

At the reception, students networked with representatives from a variety of firms, and potential employers were able to meet some of the hardest working, professional, and “out of the box” learners I’ve ever seen.

Managers reap what they sow. Bestowing junior employees the gift of your time and hard knocks wisdom is not only what Millennials crave, but are necessary behaviors to jump-start company profits.

If cultivated and afforded the correct opportunity, Millennials will amaze you with their willingness to learn, their ingenuity, and with their stellar work ethic.

To the fall 2015 EXL Principles of Management class: I’m expecting great things from you because I’ve seen you accomplish great things.

Teaching you was a privilege; seeing you perform as corporate leaders will be my fulfillment of prophecy.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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