- - Friday, January 27, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION

Think millennials aren’t impacting every facet of your life?

Even the rising cost of your morning cup of coffee is directly attributable to the millennial generation.

In fact, the time may come when you can’t find that necessary cup of Joe to start your day due to the impact of millennial behaviors.

Bloomberg first reported in October that U.S. coffee drinkers are consuming more of the product than ever before in history, causing a spike in the prices for beans.

The report directly connected the spike in demand to increased use by millennials.

In addition, Starbucks (as any millennial knows) has raised prices on their product in each of the past two years.

Ask yourself: If millennial coffee habits can drive up the cost of your coffee, how mightily might they impact aspects of your business or your own professional future?

The answer is a lot. Because they can. And they do. In a nutshell, millennials are the future of America’s workforce and to another measurable extent America’s economy.

According to a November 2016 article published in Forbes, millennials today constitute 38 percent of the workforce — a percentage that will grow to 75 percent by 2025.

As such, it’s long past time to rethink your attitudes and behaviors toward the millennial workforce. We need this generation. And we need them working effectively for the business sectors. For many in management positions, though, that has been a struggle.

Witness Kyle S. Reyes, president and CEO of the Silent Partner Marketing firm. Last year, Mr. Reyes published an open letter to his own millennial workforce on NewBostonPost. The letter expressed in no uncertain terms Mr. Reyes‘ open disdain for his millennial workers.

Here are just two brief excerpts from Mr. Reyes‘ letter.

“You’ve got the sniffles? Your boyfriend broke up with you? Well, that sucks. Deal with it. I expect you to get your work done on time. Hit traffic that made you late for the fourth time this week? You should have learned after the first time that you needed to leave your house early… Excuses might fly in college, but they’re NOT going to fly when we’re paying you to actually get things done.”

“We’re going to challenge you. We’re going to push you. We’re going to demand that you consider other perspectives. We’re going to rip your ideas to shreds from time to time. And we’re going to insist that you play nicely with others to find ideas that actually work and implement them…We’re going to get really pissed when you don’t deliver, and we’re going to get even more pissed when you cost us money because you weren’t willing to hustle hard enough to get the job done. And if you slack off enough, there’s no ‘bell curve’ that’s going to save your ass from a big fat pink slip. Lucky for you there are enough people working in the unemployment office who’ve also been wussified by the system to make sure that even though you were fired for not showing up to work, you’ll probably still get to collect unemployment and sit on your ass.”

Finally, “success is hard work,” Mr. Reyes stated. “You’re going to have to work nights and weekends from time to time. You want to make ‘the big bucks?’ Then consider a nine-hour workday to be a part-time job. …work like a maniac to get ahead. Because in the real world, you don’t get a pass just because mommy and daddy are paying your bills.”

As a college professor, I experience daily frustrations with millennials who don’t have the gumption (yet) that it takes to toughen up and make an impact in the world. But just like I can’t tell my boss that I can’t get results out of my student body until the university provides a better student prospect, neither can Mr. Reyes or any other CEO simply denigrate the millennial generation as unemployable when statistics clearly show that this generation of workers will constitute 75 percent of the working class in eight short years. That’s right, eight.

As you read this and perhaps sip a mug of coffee to start your business day, make a point of committing to develop this millennial generation of workers into the type of employees you want and need.

Honestly, what choice do you have? Besides, if for no other reason, consider this: We all might need to improve our company’s profits to afford the rising coffee prices.

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