The college Class of 2015 has been encouraged at their commencements to excel, to achieve, to cling to the values of their college years, and make a difference in the world. Once they get into the business world, what kind of difference will the members of this class make and how difficult will it be?
Stephen Blair Venable, a management consultant, business attorney, and founder of Surgo Consulting in St. Paul, is hopeful for their success and envisions a morphing working world as more millennials come into the workforce.
He joined MPR News' Tom Crann to talk about what graduates and corporations can expect from millennials.
5 ways millennials will change the American workplace
Gain a Better Understanding of Today
MPR News is not just a listener supported source of information, it's a resource where listeners are supported. We take you beyond the headlines to the world we share in Minnesota. Become a sustainer today to fuel MPR News all year long.
1) By 2025, millennials will be 75 percent of the workforce.
"Not to sound fatalistic, but at the end of the day, part of it is going to require simply replacing many of the people who run Fortune 500 companies," Venable said. "Let's be honest about this: It isn't just that they're being paid to do something that isn't exactly what we want them to do, but it is that they're the wrong people oftentimes by virtue of their native personalities and intellectual acuity. We need leaders that are more humane, that have greater social skills, that are more qualitative versus quantitative."
2) Millennials will push back against traditional corporate workplace norms.
If you think back to the values highlighted during your college commencement speech, they probably don't line up with what you see day-to-day in a corporate environment, Venable said.
3) Corporations will eventually change to fit millennial values.
"Big business does not have the values that millennials have and once again, I think these are enlightened, renaissance values," he said. "So big business is changing, by and large they're changing because millennials are wielding a series of carrots and sticks."
What will it look like?
"We need a model that is based on the ability to understand people, motivate people, empathize with people, manage people and that is the way to profit," Venable said.
4) Corporations will see the value in meeting the psychological needs of their employees.
"They will be happier, they will be more productive and they will stay and make your company more valuable," he said.
For example, Venable cited America's stress-epidemic. The American workplace is the greatest cause of stress and costs corporations up to $300 billion a year in lost productivity. That includes absenteeism, presenteeism, compensation claims and chronic illnesses.
5) Millennials are "the highest iteration of the modern homo sapien."
"As a generation they are the least racist, least sexist, least homophobic, least xenophobic, most inclusive, collaborative generation," he said. "That is a beautiful thing. So rather than being looked at as some sort of martians, I am much more romantic about it. I think they are, to date, sort of the highest iteration of the modern homo sapien."