How to get the best out of your “snowflake” millennials in the workplace

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A snowflake is fragile, but perfectly formed. A bit like generation Y – they have been educated to a high standard, brought up by well-meaning but over-protective parents to believe they can achieve anything, but somehow then seem unable to cope with the challenges of working life.

As Simon Senek controversially pointed out, this generation seem disappointed that working life doesn’t deliver instant job satisfaction and the sense of purpose they crave. Add to this the explosion of dependence on social media, with its undercurrent of judgement and comparison, and it’s no wonder that this generation have the most complaints around mental health and wellbeing. Young people on their way to work, at work and after work seem addicted to their phones. The texts and ‘likes’ make them feel connected and popular but contradictorily they may, as a result, have forgotten how to socialise at lunchtime, talk to clients on the phone or network at important work events. Senek even recommends banning mobile phones from meetings and work stations – to encourage employees to converse.

Through our work training teams of staff in businesses, we frequently hear employers complaining that their junior staff members…

• Are impatient to be promoted without putting in the hard work
• Are overly perfectionist and risk-averse
• Struggle to communicate with senior management
• Lack the resilience to deal with work knock-backs

However, there is a solution that helps young people develop better personal resilience and ensure they contribute to making any business they work in thrive. Carol Dweck has introduced the concept of a “growth mindset”, having spent 20 years studying the most successful people in the world. This is a mindset where we can let go of perfectionistic tendencies and instead believe there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. We know that if we keep trying, eventually we will succeed. Being successful in the workplace requires resilience and persistence. Seeing a project through even when things go wrong, working in teams and interacting effectively with colleagues and clients requires the kind of emotional intelligence and growth mindset attributes that many of our young (or older!) employees may not have developed growing up.

A growth mindset and strong communication skills are the essentials for the 21st century workplace and the good news is that they can be taught – and learnt. In fact, it is up to businesses to make the most of the fantastic hidden potential of our beloved “snowflakes”. If we can change the way they think, we can help them become more resilient, more productive and more confident in communicating with clients and senior managers.

Our new training programme From Snowflake to Supercharged has been designed to help your team develop these crucial life skills and build the next generation of leaders in your organisation. In this programme young graduates will learn..

• Coping strategies for dealing with work stress
• Presentation skills to communicate with clients and senior managers
• Productivity hacks to improve focus
• The confidence and resilience to thrive in a challenging work environment

For further information, visit the course webpage: From “Snowflake” to Supercharged.

“I can honestly say that in 12 years, this is the best training I have ever received.’ H.Parsons.

This article was written by Jackie Beere OBE from Love Public Speaking.

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