Best of 2016: Millennials at Work Edition

Hands of unrecognisable woman throwing golden confetti.

Let the deluge of “year-end lists” begin. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the events they mention seem so long ago that I have to double-check they happened within this calendar year. Was it really just four months ago that we were all captivated by Simone Biles, Michael Phelps and the rest of our talented Olympic athletes? Or almost a year since we were buzzing about the Super Bowl halftime show?  

So it was with real fascination that I sat down to revisit the blog posts I wrote in 2016. Here are the six posts that stood out — the ideas that have shaped my work in 2016, and the topics that you, my readers, have responded to the most.

Confessions of a Gen X Manager

Phew. It felt good to get this out! While I speak and write about millennials, I strongly identify as a Gen Xer, and I decided it was time to confess some of my Gen X-specific quirks and preferences. Surprise, surprise, many of you agreed with me! One reader pointed out that the traits I associate with being a Gen Xer could also classify me as Type A, which is true. Several savvy readers added their tips for millennials who work with Gen X managers, such as: “What you want to avoid is blindsiding your boss by taking something in a different and unapproved direction.” Agreed!

The Not-So-Secret Skill Every Young Professional Needs

Soft skills can take you very, very far. One commenter agreed, saying “I like to call them success skills.” So does The Wall Street Journal. This is a must-read tactical post for employers, employees, college counselors and even parents.

The Business Case for Supporting Millennials

So many of our favorite stereotypes about millennials are actually unwarranted. And, we often forget that we need millennials to be successful. It’s a theme I believe so wholeheartedly that it was prevalent throughout my talks this year, including my recent TEDx talk.

The good news? I know I’m not alone in supporting millennials. Here’s what one commenter said: “Amen to not trying to ‘fix’ them. As a career coach, I work with a lot of millennials. Can we all just focus on what they do well, and provide them the support and development they want in order to have meaningful and successful careers? In the end, this will support the bottom line of our organizations.” I couldn’t agree more.

What I’ve Learned From Six Months of Simplifying

I’m still identifying a word for 2017, but it will be hard to top last year’s word of the year, “simplify.” Re-reading this post reminded me of the simple pleasure of simplifying. I don’t miss those apps I deleted from my phone — and I certainly don’t miss those red pants. The biggest benefit from my year of simplifying was adding more breathing room to my schedule. I highly recommend it.

Business Casual Dress: It’s Complicated

Because we can never get enough intel on the complex world of dress codes. When traditional firms like JP Morgan and PwC change their dress code policies and nix the suits, you know it’s a trend that’s not going away.

Things Every College and Employers Should Know About Gen Z

Just when we’re mostly getting comfortable with millennials, along comes the next cohort, known as Gen Z. This emerging generation is a popular topic when I’m talking with business leaders and college counselors, and I was gratified to see this post reach beyond my normal core audience. One commenter said, “Wonderful information that validates the work and changes being made in our middle school. Thank you.”

As we close out 2016, I want to offer my sincere gratitude to each of you, members of my blog community. I can’t wait to continue sharing ideas and solutions about generational differences and possibilities in 2017, and I look forward to your thoughts.

PS: Want to walk even farther down memory lane? Check out last year’s Best Advice of 2015.

 

Did you have a favorite read from 2016 that has helped you in your career or workplace? I’d love to hear in the comments.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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