Phyllis weiss haserot
Phyllis weiss haserot

President & Founder

212 593-1549


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Millennial Value Rising Across Generations

Head-scratching and hair-pulling-out continue in some quarters, still Gen Y/Millennials are getting more good press recently – and well deserved. This article covers recent and growing trends--things to looks for, appreciate and perhaps adapt.

But first, why the contradictory opinions on the behavior of this generation (and maybe any generation since the Baby Boomers hit the workplace)? Not only is it unwise to stereotype any generation, but also the 16-20 year time spans typically used to define generations are too long to give at least a semi-accurate picture. What really defines generations are formative and personal influences that together with personal behavioral styles create a person’s mindset and even their personal brands. (Contact Phyllis for elaboration on this explanation.)

So my advice is this: Knowing typical generational patterns and influences is valuable; but don’t fall for the hype, and do challenge knee-jerk and impulsive assumptions.

What’s Happening now?

Mutual Mentoring: CEOs seeking Millennial mentors.
Only Millennials need apply? Actually, not true. Members of Gen Z are also in demand as mentors. It’s music to my ears to hear/read evidence that a variety of cross-generational pair-ups are thriving in reverse and mutual mentorships in the corporate world.

The match-ups cited in a recent New York Times article range from an age gap of mentee twice the mentor’s age to less than a decade age difference. Some mentees are on the cusp of Millennial age. It’s happening in several industries and levels in the organizations. Goals and learning include spotting industry and market trends, Gen Z and Y culture, organizational effectiveness/talent management, and of course digital skills. The not so good news is that Millennials in many companies are not getting leadership skills they need while the trend toward mentoring older executives to do their jobs better grows.

Change from Older Millennials to Younger Ones. Millennials under age 30 are exhibiting different gender attitudes (so far) than the over 30 segment. More females are speaking out and taking the lead on projects and presentations. And and McKinsey & Co.’s women in the workplace study found men and women hold similar views on several issues with regard to genders at work.

What’s causing this change? One thread of speculation is the impact of the Great Recession on the younger half’s formative years, encouraging entry level workers’ ambition and to fight early for equality. The study found almost as many young Millennial women said they want to be top executives as their male peers (60% to 69%), an increase over both older men and women. However, there is still a gender gap on priorities; the least likely workers to say gender diversity is a high priority for them are young Millennial men. The genders do agree on skepticism that company efforts support women.

Trust Building by Young Executives. Older segment (or “early” – in their 30s) Millennials in senior spots recruited to start or invigorate businesses often find difficulty gaining older colleagues’ trust. Career Builders found that almost 40% of U.S. employees worked for someone younger in 2014, and the trend is growing. As I wrote in the chapter on Relevance and Confidence in my forthcoming book, “You Can’t Google It!” the older workers in these upside-down reporting relationships need to confidently convey their relevance to younger bosses and colleagues. (Our Authentic Age Assessment helps to do this.) At the same time, older colleagues may expect arrogance and possibly costly mistakes from the younger managers.


The best outcomes have come from situations in which older and younger develop strong bonds and are encouraged to learn from and help each other. A plug for #CrossGenerationalConversation. As one corporate president said, “Results count more than age.”


© Phyllis Weiss Haserot 2017.

* The generational chronology for easy reference: Generations are defined by the similar formative influences – social, cultural, political, economic – that existed as the individuals of particular birth cohorts were growing up. Given that premise, the age breakdowns for each of the four generations currently in the workplace are approximately:

Learn about our *Generational Wisdom for Mentors and Mentees* programs as well as multi-generational team facilitation. Call 212-593-1549 or e-mail

For coaching, training and special programs on inter-generational challenges for and among 4 generations in the workplace and maximizing the potential of young professionals, call or email Phyllis for an exploratory talk or complimentary coaching session at 212-593-1549 or

Phyllis is available to speak at your organization or at firm retreats on inter-generational relations and organizational effectiveness topics. Call or e-mail for a list of topics or to custom-tailor your own.