Soft Skills Gap Among Millennials

Sunday, August 13 2023

Judy Preszcator – The Millennial generation, born from 1981-1997, now has the largest share of the working-age population in Canada at 33.2%. Baby Boomers now make up less than 25% of the work force, according to Statistics Canada. As Boomers exit the workforce, this trend will  continue to reduce access to their experience and leave a soft skills gap among Millennials.

Being a Millennial

Millennials grew up with technology and the ease of obtaining information. Organizations that have a collaborative, open approach will be appealing to them. Providing soft skills training is a key component to being collaborative.

As Millennials move up within the organization, they will need support from their organization in the following ways:

  • Be future thinking and observe who would be great at leading people
  • Begin grooming them with additional responsibilities
  • Provide soft skills training in areas of leadership including:
    • Goal setting and productivity
    • Motivation and coaching
    • Communication and team building
    • Managing stress and leading change

Soft Skills Strategy

Organizations should create a strategy to minimize the gaps in soft skills, then develop a mentorship or cross-training program between your Baby Boomer team members and Millennials:

  • Think in months, not weeks
  • Personality compatibility
  • Ensure both parties take accountability for their role
  • Involve participants in developing an action plan with target dates

Conduct a survey to receive feedback to gain an understanding in these areas:

  • Do they feel they have a voice in the organization
  • Is there recognition for the good work they do
  • Clarity of expectations
  • Do they feel respected and valued
  • Are the necessary tools provided to perform their job well
  • Is there opportunity for career advancement
  • Are they receiving the right training for their role

Your Role as a Leader

As a leader yourself, chances are, you were promoted because you did your job well. You likely learned that the skills you needed to do your job as a team member were very different from leading people.

Begin developing a strategy to support potential leaders with soft skills training. Think of it as an investment, not a cost. You will see your ROI through higher levels of engagement and productivity.

Today, Millennials are quicker to move to another organization than the previous generation. The gold watch for 30 years of service is almost a thing of the past. To keep good people, lead by example. Use your soft skills to demonstrate to them that you value your team and they can trust you.

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