The next post-truth news headline is in the making. Business and Industry on Verge of Collapse! No one left to manage our businesses and lead our companies. With the plethora of negative epithets bestowed upon millennials and the persistent whining about their perceived apathy we could easily be duped into believing that future social cohesion and economic development are about to implode. We constantly hear that millennials cannot be expected to undertake even the simplest of tasks. However, considering the current state of global affairs, some might believe the baby boomers have little to brag about. Do not despair – the future is bright.
Millennials, business schools and businesses form the triad of stakeholders which will determine how this story unfolds. How do each group perceive their respective roles and how do they interact with one another?
Change is already happening
In contrast to previous generations, this young, socially motivated group does not necessarily see or build walls between government, non-profits and business; in fact, they ask why there need be any walls at all. A digitally savvy generation is speaking up, taking a stand, stretching, looking at the rest of the world, asking relevant new questions. It not only expects but in fact is generating new business models. Bear in mind that not all millennials are young 20-somethings fresh out of college. By 2018, the earliest of this generation will be between 30 and 33 years old. They will hold roles in middle management, expertise leadership or will be executives.
Since talent management will continue to be a top priority for the coming years, attracting a generation of innovators and fresh perspectives is key to success for today’s companies. The rapid evolution of the digital economy has upped the ante for employees and entrepreneurs who can think up and implement out-of-the-box solutions. Innovative concepts and philosophies such as Table Crowd demonstrate how new business may be generated and flourish in the new digital era. It is all about connectivity: the skills of effective networking and applying knowledge are at a prime. In the new order, fossilised management practices and staid hierarchical structures are becoming defunct. Millennials are ripe for this new market.
Beleaguered business schools?
Hardly. Just speak to any business school graduate, dean or employer to experience how business schools have adapted to meet the new challenge. Such positive attitudes and outcomes did not happen by chance. They are a direct result of business schools and organisations not just revamping but radically rethinking their programmes, adapting their teaching methodologies and better defining their mission statements to address millennials’ needs. This paradigm shift has firmly been underpinned by the efforts of accreditation bodies. By refocusing their core curriculum to the areas of innovation and cross-disciplinary studies, business schools are now nurturing and inspiring the digitally savvy millennial generation to greater heights. Perhaps even more significantly, a greater emphasis on business ethics and social responsibility kindles the flame of the ever more socially aware millennial.
If you’re still concerned with the flooding of millennials into the workplace – they are currently the EU’s workplace minority, but will comprise three-fourths within the next decade – attend this afternoon’s EAIE Expert Community Feature session. Business Education presents: Educating millennials: engagement, ethics and entrepreneurship will convince you that millennials have much to offer and inspire you to create space for them in your workplace. Attend Wednesday 13 September from 15:30–17:00.
Robert Buttery is Head of International Relations at University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.