Today’s Younger Employees May Not Be That Different


“Today’s employees are too rebellious.”

“They don’t care how they look.”

“They are just too impatient.”

“The young ones are not willing to follow orders.”

While these expressions may sound like descriptions of today’s younger employees, they were written more than thirty-five years ago.

Can we say “enough already” with lamenting the short comings of today’s young workers?  Of course, the under-thirty-somethings miss more work, are impatient, seek meaningful work, and are not apt to blindly follow policies.

But these things were also true of younger employees twenty, forty, fifty and probably one hundred years ago.  Why do fifty-year-old employees behave differently than twenty-five-year-olds?  Can we say “maturity”?   Older employees, on average, have more experience, more responsibilities and hopefully more wisdom.

Some managers, mistakenly in my view, agonize over whether they should modify their policies, job assignments, and leadership approach to accommodate talented, younger employees.

If your current policies and leadership climate are not appropriate for educated, talented millennials, I say they are probably not right for wiser, experienced employees either.

Take a personal interest in all employees, be clear about what you expect, put them in positions where they can succeed, provide training and support and don’t worry about their ages.