Business Monday

Millennials and older workers: CEOs opine on a question for the ages

Dr. Alejandro Badia is an orthopedic surgeon who leads a network of orthopedic urgent care centers called OrthoNOW based in Doral. The company has locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Dr. Alejandro Badia is an orthopedic surgeon who leads a network of orthopedic urgent care centers called OrthoNOW based in Doral. The company has locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

This week’s question: What differences have you noticed between millennial and older workers?

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Millennials value their personal free time and they seek overall life balance. They heavily rely on mobile platforms/tools/phones/tablets etc. to efficiently solve everyday work tasks and projects. Older generations can learn from millennials but also they have much to offer them in return. In short, the new workforce needs to be a combination of both generations as they offer attributes that together complement each other and will cultivate a variety of skills.

Alejandro Badia, orthopedic surgeon and founder, OrthoNOW

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Millennials today, particularly those I encounter most often in the legal industry, generally have very different views from older workers about everything from where they work to their career path. They don’t like being tied down to an office. They often want to work collaboratively on laptops in open gathering spaces or have the flexibility to work from home. If their career isn’t advancing at a pace they would like, many millennials are quick to pick up and move to another employer. But where the millennials also differ is that their focus isn’t always about earning more money, as lifestyle choices are equally and sometimes more important. I think it’s critical for executives today to find ways to bridge this generational divide and understand the needs of these new workers in order to make sure we are building a strong future workforce and the next generation of leaders.

Hilarie Bass, co-president, Greenberg Traurig

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It seems like millennials are more open to posting all aspects of their lives on social media, where older workers may be more guarded about having everything on public display. Older workers have more experiences, which can make them more well-rounded, but millennials have enthusiasm, which can be a great influence on the entire organization. And of course millennial acceptance and adaptation to new technology is key in today’s workplace.

Peggy Benua, general manager, Dream South Beach

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Obviously, more tech savvy and fearless about sharing their lives, stories and experiences on social media.

Meg Daly, president and CEO, Friends of The Underline

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Millennials vs. Older Workers:

Challenged by the unknown / Frightened by the unknown

Methodical / Deliberate

Want it today attitude / “Will Get It Tomorrow” attitude

Loves to work / Works because of love

Driven by the acquisition of things / Driven by the fulfillment

T. Willard Fair, president and CEO, Urban League of Greater Miami

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Generally, younger workers can sometimes have better technical skills and higher energy levels. Older workers have realistic expectations and deal more effectively with people and problems. Some jobs require experience and others technical capabilities; both are needed.

Vicky Garrigo, market head, U.S. Southeastern Region Private Banking, HSBC Bank

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There is such a broad range of workers at Books & Books that I find it hard to pinpoint the exact differences. Some generalizations: Millennials are very confident and tend to want to work out of a sense of purpose and mission. They want to find something meaningful to do and aren’t afraid to switch jobs if their expectations aren’t met. They don’t seem as locked into a single profession, as workers of my generation tend to be. Often younger workers will be more entrepreneurial and take ownership easier than older workers. The flip side is that they tend to be on the move more than older workers, more geographically fluid. Older workers tend to be more stable and not as ready to move on to the next “new” thing. I’m in a profession, though, where most of us took a road less traveled, both young and old, so, in essence, I find more similarities than differences in the wonderful people I work with. They’re all committed, passionate believers in local, independent business.

Mitch Kaplan, founder, Books & Books

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Millennials are becoming a valuable asset to businesses. They bring fresh ideas to the workplace, are not afraid to question processes, and tend to think outside the box. The magic occurs when you match up a millennial with the experience and wisdom of the older generations. At JLL South Florida, we are working closely with our millennial talent through mentoring and programs that expose them to multiple facets of the business. Once we understand their interests and strengths, we are able to put them in the best position to excel.

Alan Kleber, managing director, JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle)

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Millennials bring a different set of skills to the workplace. While there’s some truth that many are not as assertive as older workers, millennials have great technical skills and a better understanding of the growing interaction between the online and offline worlds. I’m very optimistic about the millennial generation as workers and as future executives and entrepreneurs.

Mario Murgado, president and CEO, Brickell Motors

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I have the privilege of working with seasoned veterans of the business world and young millennials who are just beginning their careers. While it may be a result of the times and different generations, I find that younger workers make a clear effort to “work to live.” Millennials are approaching work and career with innovative ideas as well as a refreshing outlook on how life and work is balanced. Ultimately, I enjoy watching both generations collaborating, teaching one another the ways of business both new and old.

Steve Perricone, president and owner, Perricone’s Restaurant

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I just visited the corporate headquarters of AirBnB. The sense of freedom and the way they work — everyone works at community tables with private spaces people migrate to for meetings or calls — is really positive and different. They are right — everyone does not need a desk and office. Even the founders don’t have an office! It is also is a well-designed, interesting environment. They do it brilliantly.

Craig Robins, president and CEO, Dacra

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Millennials tend to take on more risk than older workers and they bring fresh and challenging ideas to the table. Generally, their ability to adapt to new technology enables them to better thrive in the workplace. That said, as an older worker myself, I believe that my ability to write and express myself in greater than 140 characters without three-letter abbreviations, continues to make me a valuable part of the workforce. #LOLILM

David Samson, president, Miami Marlins

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Here at FPL, I’m noticing a greater focus by the younger generation on their quality of life. Millennials want to be impact players. With our rapid evolution of technology, they’re also less patient. I’m sensing that they also care about working for companies or industries that are helping to shape our world for future generations.

Eric Silagy, president and CEO, Florida Power & Light

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Millennials seem to be more willing to take professional risks. They have, I think, a higher tolerance for failure and see it as a step along the way to success rather than an endpoint. They also place a higher importance on quality of life over, say, ambition or the numbers on a check. They don’t want to sit in traffic for hours, they use all of their vacation days, etc.

Rachel Silverstein, executive director, Miami Waterkeeper

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