The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workplace


In a new book by Wall Street Journal contributor Ron Alsop, the author tackles the challenges of employing “Trophy Kids” in the workplace. “Trophy Kids” are of course Millennials, those youngin’s born from 1980 to 2000.

The Journal has a great write-up of the book. My favorite quote:

Although members of other generations were considered somewhat spoiled in their youth, millennials feel an unusually strong sense of entitlement. Older adults criticize the high-maintenance rookies for demanding too much too soon. “They want to be CEO tomorrow,” is a common refrain from corporate recruiters.

More than 85% of hiring managers and human-resource executives said they feel that millennials have a stronger sense of entitlement than older workers, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com. The generation’s greatest expectations: higher pay (74% of respondents); flexible work schedules (61%); a promotion within a year (56%); and more vacation or personal time (50%).

Clearly Millennials are a group that expect a lot from their career on day one. And who can blame them? Millennials were surrounded by motivation posters in school hallways every day with messages like “Believe and you will achieve” and “Everyone has special talent”.

Understanding this is vital to your marketing efforts. Make it clear in your message that an education at your university will give them an advantage in their career and will speed up achievements like raises, promotions and vacation time.

There is an even more important lesson here: ensure that your marketing message makes the Millennial feel special, talented and gifted. Work with the sense of entitlement, not against it. Encourage it. Play into the way the Millennial already considers themselves unique, and your message will resonate more.

Flattery, it seems, will get you everywhere. After all, you just need to get them to enroll, you don’t have to deal with them once they matriculate. That’s when student services takes over.

Original Source: Justin Emond

3 responses to “The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workplace

  1. This is one of the stupidest and most offensive things I’ve ever read. “Flattery will get you everywhere with these gullible Millennials!” While I do think it’s good to market that an education at your institution will increase a potential student’s competitiveness in the workforce in the future, I don’t think most Millennials need a fluffer to get them to attend your school. (And if that’s what you actually need to get people into your institution, I would suggest improving the quality of your institution–not wasting your time on empty flattery.)

    And I still don’t get the “entitlement” argument. I hear it everywhere, and yet all the studies I read show time and again that people in my age group are just as hard-working, just as loyal as any previous age group. While I don’t EXPECT a raise, a promotion, or extra vacation time upon walking in the door of any job, it is something I want to achieve. And if I’m willing to work my backside off for it, to do a better job than anyone else to get it, including older Gen X or Boomer employees who assume that if they just sit at their desks long enough, the raise or the promotion will eventually come, I don’t see how I’m the one with the entitlement issue.

    I believe in hard work. Most of the people in my generation do. Educational institutions would do more to emphasize the value of the education they have to offer, the competitiveness of this education in the work force, and the things outside of classes students can get involved in that will also increase their competitiveness if they want to recruit people my age. THAT is what we’re interested in.

  2. You are dead-on. With four Gen Y kids I do realize I share a lot of the blame. And at different times I have to stop my helicopter parent tendencies. Maybe I can start a support group??

  3. angry trophy kid

    I find this book rather odd. The people that are the ones complaining about us are the ones that raised us.

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