By Chasiti Gaines

Hey, Millennial Here. I’m all about learning to embrace diversity and inclusion in the workplace. So, when YPAL (Young Professionals Association of Louisville) announced it would be launching its firs Excelerate Program on generational differences in the workforce, I had to attend. Millennials are commonly labeled as lazy (Bored), entitled (I do work hard), and narcissistic (Thanks Instagram).

“It’s Not About Birth Year! It’s About Mindset!”

However, by 2020, Millennials will dominate the workforce, outnumbering Baby Boomers and Gen Xers combined. If businesses want to succeed in this changing work environment, they need to quickly figure out what Millennials look for when applying for jobs and how to retain them to avoid unnecessaryemployee turnover.

Here’s the Generational Breakdown:
Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
Generation X (1965-1979)
Millennials (1980-2000)

What is Excelerate?

YPAL’s quarterly Excelerate development programs provide young professionals with opportunities to develop the practical and professional skills needed to succeed in the workplace. The next Excelerate workshop, Communication for the Digital Age, will be on Thursday, June 23, 2016. Registration opens soon!

I would highly encourage young professionals in Louisville to participate in the next Excelerate program. It is an excellent opportunity to meet new exciting people and develop your professional skills. The program was insightful, and I left with practical knowledge that is applicable to many facets of my career.

Overview of the Excelerate Program

Hosted at the Republic Bank Plaza, YPAL’s first Excelerate program was on bridging generational gaps in the workforce and understanding the Millennial perspective. As more Millennials enter the workforce, this dynamic shift challenges traditional work perspectives as older generations struggle to understand the Millennial mindset.

Our keynote speaker for the event, Cara Silletto (MBA), brings more than 12 years of experience to helping organizations bridge generational differences in the workplace. She is also the founder and president of Crescendo Strategies.

Our agenda for the program included breakfast (Blueberry Muffins – delicious!), keynote speaker, panel discussion, and training workshops. There was plenty of time to network with other young professionals during the break sessions. The panelists for the discussion included Matt Real (Associate Director for Career Development at Bellarmine University), Gil Reyes (Senior Manager of External Affairs, Kentucky Science Center), and Debra Wells (Manager, Inclusion and diversity at LG&E-KU Energy LLC).

Key Insights & Strategies
“Millennials do not accept standards. We demand choices.”
1. Millennials love personalization. Remember that Mac computer, the transparent ones that came in multiple colors like green and blue? That’s the idea. Today, businesses know that to effectively market to Millennials, customization and personalization are key.
2. Know Your Audience. Ask questions like: Who are you attempting to persuade? When is the appropriate time to ask this question (i.e. Do NOT ask your boss when you will be promoted). What communication style would be most effective? At the beginning of this post, I used the word “hey.” Hey is a term commonly used by Millennials. In professional e-mail communication, using hello or hi might be more appropriate depending on your audience.
3. Communicate Your Expectations. If “pay your dues” is important to your business culture, make sure hired Millennials understand what exactly you mean by that phrase. Do not make assumptions.
4. Know Your Personality Traits. Be aware and knowledgeable of your personality traits as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Contact your career development department at your college for personality tests, or find some quality options online.
“It’s all about perception! Even if you’re right and they are wrong… They can still judge you!”
5. Professionalism is Subjective. Do I really need to wear pantyhose with a skirt at the job or for a formal presentation? Are brown suits acceptable? What height heels are appropriate? Can I walk barefoot at the office? The answer – it depends. Some businesses are more lax, while others are more strict in their approach to professional wardrobe. It’s up to management to effectively communication expectations and let new hires know the office dress code do’s and don’ts.
6. It is OKAY to job-hop. You even make more money in the long run if you do. However, when asked about short-term longevity at your previous jobs, be upfront about why you left. If you were looking for a better opportunity – just say it.

What are some of your experiences (good or bad) with managing generational gaps in the workforce? Comment Below.

Would you like to learn more about generational differences in the workplace?

To request your free booklet on the Millennial Mindset –Visit:

For more information on YPAL’s upcoming events, visit: @ypallouisville

Follow Cara Silleto on Twitter: @crescendocara

Follow me on Twitter: @chasitigaines

** All quotations were from Cara Silleto’s Presentation