Some insights about millennial leaders


Survey finds that millennials view making an impact on organisational culture as being much more important than salary

Korn Ferry International, an executive search and recruiting firm headquartered in Los Angeles, recently released a report decoding the way millennial bosses work and how others perceive them. With millennial workers set to constitute 35% of the global workforce by 2020, understanding how they work, lead and progress in their career will allow for a smooth transition to new practices, cultures and norms.


The survey found that when interviewing for management positions, millennials say that making an impact on organisational culture is most important to them, with salary being the least important. When asked what they wished millennial bosses would do more of, the largest percentage (29%) said face-to-face communications, followed by keeping their bosses informed at 27%.


The February 2018 survey of more than 1,500 professionals, revealed that 55% thought online messaging was the most common way for millennial bosses to communicate with their direct reports, followed by email at 28%. Only 14% said their favoured way to communicate is in person, and 3% said via phone.


In a press release, Korn Ferry North American Market Leader for Technology Samantha Wallace said that the way bosses communicated with their staff had a huge impact on organisational culture.


“Millennials grew up using screens as their primary form of interaction, and while online messaging and email are effective, efficient tools, face-to-face communication is needed to create an inclusive culture,” she said


When asked what they actually did best, only 10% said keeping their bosses informed and 3% said managing up to executives. The top response for what millennial bosses do best is creating flexibility in the workplace (65%).


However, millennial managerial approaches may not be seen as positive by bosses of different generations with 70% of respondents that are Gen X and Baby Boomer bosses believing they work harder than their millennial counterparts.


The survey, however, found that managers believe millennial bosses are qualified with 75% of respondents saying they believed millennial managers have earned their role.


“Members of the millennial generation are really coming into their own in the workplace,” said Wallace. “They may not approach management the same way as bosses from different generations, but instead of fighting change, adapting to the dynamic culture millennials bring will help companies succeed.”


The survey also found that, compared with Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, knowing what is coming next is critical for millennial bosses. Nearly three quarters (74%) said a clear advancement path (e.g. next two positions) was more important for millennial bosses, with 49% saying it was much more important.


“Millennials tend to value clear communication and feedback, and organizational leaders seeking the best and brightest from this generation must work closely with millennial managers to provide well laid out career paths,” said Wallace.

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