I have spent a huge amount of time lately speaking at different Human Resources Conferences throughout the country. I love this part of my job because it provides me with the chance to speak about topics like workplace diversity, LGBTQ issues and other subjects about which I feel a great deal of passion. Fortunately, it also allows me with the wonderful opportunity to sit and listen to other attorneys, HR professionals and C-Level folks, speaking about varying topics.
One subject that seems to continue to come up is how to manage millennials in the workplace.
Last week, I had a very interesting conversation with a millennial, who, candidly, was irate about the way her generation is continually “put in a box.” She shared with me that, at every HR Conference she has attended, at least one or two speakers have “droned on” (her words) about how all millennials need constant feedback and hand holding, how millennials are scattered and how millennials have limited attention spans. She shared with me that she keeps sitting in other sessions about the importance of diversity and starting to eliminate unconscious bias and anachronistic roles associated with certain people, but for some reason, it seems acceptable to group all millennials together.
She has a good point.
We all, appropriately and earnestly, speak about the importance of diversity and open-mindedness, about the dangers of stereotyping and about treating people based on who they are rather than on who we think they should be. Let’s make sure we remember these messages as they apply to millennials. We cannot paint with such broad strokes. We need, at all times, to be mindful that one size almost never (read: NEVER) fits all.
Let’s make a pact. Regardless of the group, whether it is, for example, gender-based, race-based, national-origin-based, or age-based, we look past the common refrain and see the person, as an individual.