Bruce held our partners spellbound for two and a half hours.
Graham Baragwanath, Managing Partner (fmr.), Deloitte Consulting Canada
Jun 1, 2015

Millennials: Hiring, On-Boarding, and 0-2 Year Retention


From Bruce

They were small children on 9/11/01. They graduated from high school and maybe went to college or university during the deepest and most protracted global recession since the Great Depression. They are entering the workforce in a “new normal” of constrained resources, increased requirements placed on workers, and fewer promised rewards for nearly everyone. From day one, they find themselves bumping up against a crowded field of “career delayed” Gen Yers, not to mention plenty of even older workers who themselves have seen recent career setbacks. Meanwhile, Gen Zers—unlike any other generation in history—can look forward to a lifetime of interdependency and competition with their peers from every corner of this ever-flattening world.

Why ever would Gen Zers see established institutions as their anchors of success and security? They never will. Instead they will be most likely to turn to their most reliable anchors growing up:

  • handheld supercomputers,
  • proximately powerful grown-ups, and
  • the ability to construct a unique identity—a personal brand—which they can wield in public—mostly on socialmedia—and revel in privately.

Generation Z is now the fastest-growing segment of the workforce, and they will be until at least 2020. Every single day, business leaders tell me that Generation Z is presenting a whole new set of twists on all of the familiar management challenges across the whole employment lifecycle. For more than twenty years now, we’ve been cataloging the challenges managers face and, at the same time, documenting the most successful strategies and best practices for addressing these challenges.

Stay strong!


Managers tell us every day that they struggle with so many factors outside their control. Here are the five unavoidable realities of today’s workplace that constantly vex managers:

  • Personnel discontinuity. People come and go. That’s always been true. But employment relationshipstoday are far more short term and fluid than they have been before in the modern economy. So you are always losing goodpeople. And you are always trying to get new people on board and up to speed. On top of that, one great employee is worthmore than three or four or five mediocre employees. Sometimes you have to go to great lengths to effectively reward, retain,and develop the very best employees.
  • Constant change coming at you from every direction. Technology. The markets. The weather. Geopolitics.Micropolitics. Customer requirements; vendor requirements; employee requirements. Change regularly forces rework, ofteninvolving lots of moving parts, and therefore lots of counterparts here there and everywhere.
  • Interdependency. More and more of our work involves lots of moving parts and, therefore, lots ofcounterparts here, there, and everywhere. Most people must rely on many others within and without their immediate work groupin order to do their own work.
  • Resource constraints. Everybody is expected nowadays to do more with less. Increasingly people reportthat they are making do with tighter and tighter resources, longer and more complex supply lines, and shorter and shorterlead times. Often people find themselves trying to do their jobs with what they feel are insufficient resources.
  • Employees are human. Human beings have weaknesses as well as strengths. Humans are not always great atself-management. They have habits—and not always good ones. Not only that, but everybody has bad days. Some people have badweeks, months, even years. Productivity and quality of work are highly variable, sometimes due to employee performance. Ontop of all that, humans have attitudes, and not always good ones.

Highly-engaged management is all about focusing on the factors you can control and helping your direct reports focus on the factors they can control every step of the way. The key is to keep all of these factors in mind, plan for them, plan around them, anticipate and avoid them, and be ready to take action to mitigate the down-sides. Strong leadership will help you stay a few steps ahead on all of these issues. Highly-engaged management will give you a head start when it comes to the most effective ways to attract and retain talent, navigating through change, interdependency, and resource constraints. And if you are highly-engaged, you will remember to give those human beings more guidance, direction, support and coaching every step of the way.

Looking for some help to handle these problems, and more? Check out the Tips and Tools on our website!


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In order to win today’s competition for the most talented young employees, you need to develop a systematic effort to find the right candidates, develop methodical recruiting campaigns anchored in powerful messaging, implement rigorous selection techniques, and then get new staff members in the door, on board, up to speed, and deciding one day at a time to NOT leave. Here’s our approach in a nutshell:


  • Diversify your sourcing
  • Deliver a killer message
  • Determine why your brand may not be enough to attract the best


  • Grab hold of them, and don’t let go
  • Low tech: train them one task at a time
  • High tech: don’t fight their desire for the latest and greatest information technology

Zero to Two Year Retention

  • Create an upward spiral of continuous improvement
  • Focus on solutions, not problems
  • Teach them how to get what they need from you

Want to read the rest? Find it at our website, here.


Bridging the Soft Skills Gap is coming to a bookstore near you September 15, 2015. Follow the links below to pre-order your copy today!



The 27 Challenges Managers Face is now available at


Rainmaker Thinking’s video-based, automated, & continuous online training program for managers and employees. If you haven’t tried Rainmaker Thinking .training please take a look by clicking here or call 203-772-2002 x101 for more information.


Keeping Newly-Hired Millennials Engaged