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Millennials in the Workplace

  • 1.  Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 06-26-2018 10:10

    My editorial for the June issue of CEP focuses on Millennials. Millennials will soon be the majority of the workforce, bringing with them different strengths and weaknesses, interests, and values from their predecessors.

    You can read more about this in CEP's June 2018 issue.

    How has the increase of Millennials in your workplace changed the culture or structure of your company?

    How do you think collaboration and communication generationally could be improved? Have you or your workplace created any policies, work groups, and/or training to help older and younger staff collaborate?


    Elizabeth Pavone
    Associate Editor, CEP
    Pittsburgh PA

  • 2.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 06-27-2018 07:53

    In the late 1970s, when I first entered the corporate world, we youngsters took a back seat to the 20-year company veterans.


    Today, youth is valued over age and experience.


    Bob Bly


    31 Cheyenne Drive

    Montville, NJ 07045

    Phone 973-263-0562

    Fax 973-263-0613

    E-mail rwbly@bly.com

    Web www.bly.com


  • 3.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 06-28-2018 20:25
    Edited by Monica Mellinger 06-29-2018 08:45
    I graduated and began working in 1972. I have over 35 years experience
    in the environmental, health and safety fields.

    When I began my career, I continually asked veterans in these areas many
    questions. I had a thirst to find out more knowledge, gain a greater
    understanding, and learn my trade. There was a reluctance then to
    provide help. I always wondered if my colleagues felt uneasy about
    sharing information or were not sure they could do it properly. I
    decided I would always help the "new kids" as much as I could.

    Now fast forward. I am finding a reluctance for Millennials to listen to
    me. I get the impression they felt everything they needed to know they
    got from the classroom. What a "180" from my youth.

    I do not want to be held in awe by these Millennials. I merely want some
    respect that time-in grade teaches you skills, knowledge and expertise.
    I am more than happy to share, all you have to do is ask and listen.

    Michael Mutnan - Retired
    BS Chemical Engineering
    Newark College of Engineering (now called NJIT)
    Arvada, CO

  • 4.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 06-29-2018 08:44
    Even worse, there seems to be a prevalent attitude (among not just Millenials) that every thing you could possibly need to know can be found for free on the internet, so there is no point in trying to duplicate this knowhow in your own brain or in a paper library.  Do such people not understand that everything on the internet has been posted by some human, and that the person posting it is NOT all-knowing?  I have a personal library of over 300 books & reports on Chem Eng, and thousands of articles, costing thousands of dollars collected over 40 years.  Very few (less than 5%) can be freely downloaded from the internet.

  • 5.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 06-29-2018 11:47
    The internet is a great resource of information - a Great Tool .  Today, less time is needed to obtain valuable information and gain knowledge from others experience than in the past.  The application of that knowledge, the ability to problem solve-sometimes very quickly and to make quick and "wise" decisions are what experience brings.  That cannot be found in a book or on an internet site.  Only from a wise human.  Problem solvers are what good engineers are and that ability requires experience and confidence.

    John Maziuk
    Consultant VP of Engineering and Technology
    Verdant Engineering
    Ocean Pines MD

  • 6.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 06-30-2018 01:36
    My clients understand that when I do an inspection, I am not just looking at questions on a clip board.
    I have a list to remind me of each important area to look at,
    but I also am assessing the details and visual clues that help me
    to get a deeper picture or see another issue that may cause a problem.

    A couple of clients have had the experience of accepting a realtor's offer to hire an assessor.
     The assessor turns out a 2-inch note book of paper,
    without any indication of what was reviewed,
    what is OK and what needs more study.

    The client gave me the book and then asked for my opinion.
    I looked in the book and saw why he was perplexed
    -- it was just page after page of printing, but without explanation.
    It was of little help, even to me.

    I then began to walk the client through the buiding
    pointing out what was OK and the visual clues
    that I used to determine my answer.
    Then I showed him the insulation that was a concern.
    I explained why I did not think it was asbestos,
    but could not prove it with out testing.

    He had no problem paying me for my time on-site.

    Caroline Reynolds BA,MA,MS,PE
    CR Solutions
    Austin TX

  • 7.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 07-03-2018 07:44
    ​My issue is not millennials vs. boomers -- one is not better than the other. Mine is, as an aging boomer, I live in a society where youth is worshipped and the aged looked down upon. When I was a young engineer in the late 70s, the older and more experienced engineers were revered, and we recent grads were seen as kiddies who would have to work for a few years in the company before we really knew what's what. When it come to generational prejudice, I always seem to be on the short end of the stick!

    Robert Bly
    Self Employed
    Montville NJ

  • 8.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 07-04-2018 12:54
    here here!  or is it hear hear!

  • 9.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 07-01-2018 12:56
    Millennials are awesome and Baby Boomers and Generation Xers need to appreciate the amazing potential of Millennials.

    The best Millennial is just as good as the best BB or GX and has more tools available to them. GOOGLE is a tool and for the most part should not be trusted but GOOGLE Scholar is an excellent tool.

    The worst Millennial is just as bad as the worst BB and GX and I am sure you can think of examples. 

    I learn from Millennials all  the time like my grandchildren and Rice students. Imagine if we had all the tools available today they have: GOOGLE, big data, computer networks, process simulators etc.

    As a BB my job is to teach the next generations about Chemical Engineering basics that never change.

    For example = ENTROPY

  • 10.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 07-03-2018 06:10
    ​Respectfully to those that have made all of the comments, I feel the label to an age group that reflects an attitude is not appropriate.
    I feel the inner soul is identical within the individuals and the personalities and traits are identical to those that that exist within each different era.
    One trait that I absolutely admire is the need to give back to society for those that are born to this mentioned group. Notice I did not give it a name.
    If the job can not be tied to enhancing society then its time to move  on.
    Chris Semonelli

    Christopher Semonelli
    Vice President Sales & Marketing
    Middletown RI

  • 11.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 06-30-2018 08:16
    I believe in Millennials - don't get me wrong. But here's the litmus test for how corporations look at veteran staff (those that remain, at least): when there is a serious problem, is the conference room populated with 22 year-old computer geniuses or a bunch of grizzled, old guys complaining about their arthritis. Which group does corporate management usually embrace in these situations?

    To quote a popular commercial, "We know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two."


    Les Skinner
    Tekoa Operating Co., Inc.
    Houston, TX

  • 12.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 06-30-2018 11:47
    A friend of mine once told me: "Some people believe that you can "google" experience"
    Quoting the "Closing the Skills Gap" article : "It takes a young technical person about 8-9 years of experience to be able to make nonstandard, original technical decision"
    There is no short cut to experience... sooner or later we all need to develop situational expertise if we ought to thrive in our careers

    S. Nino
    Montreal, Canada

  • 13.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 07-03-2018 18:03

    The companies that I work at and have worked in usually have a young professionals group similar to AIChE's that do activities both in and out of the workplace.  On the professional/career side there are numerous chances to take on projects of varying impact, although it usually depends on the company.

    ​I've been pretty fortunate to work with some great engineers, coworkers and managers over my relatively short career.  There are of course exceptions.  The most difficult problems I've encountered are often not technical, rather interacting with other people.

    Two principles that have served me well are: always be open to new ideas and be willing to listen (comprehend as well).

    Thomas Leusner
    Global Environmental & Sustainability Manager
    PPG Industries, Inc.
    Sylmar, CA

  • 14.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 07-04-2018 21:53
    Edited by Nader Shakerin 07-08-2018 23:31
    Great subject and great collaboration.  I think analyzing performance solely based on age category is an over generalization.  Age may have an impact on performance, but claiming that it contributes to more than 50% of performance is something that need to be tested properly.  I am curious if anyone has seen a "screening" experiment that indicates age is a major contributor to performance.  I also think emphasizing it too much can be an example of discrimination, and it should be handled with utmost care.

    Millennials have grown up with more advanced technologies around them compared to the previous generations.  The rate of technology advancement in many fields is exponential, so the difference between the newer and older generations in being familiar with new technological platforms would become more significant.  Having that said, I think performance is not about familiarity with newer tools but about the utilization of them.  I have colleagues older than me who are more proficient than I am in using computers and internet and have seen younger folks who can gather a mountain of information from on-line sources but lack the ability to make an actionable conclusion from it.  To get result, there is a need for both data and experience interpreting it.

    Inclusivity is a matter that all team members should actively promote.  If I am upset that a junior team member does not ask for my advise, it may be an indicator that I can learn more about connecting with him/her.  Moreover, if I see a more senior person frustrated with my performance, it can be a tell-sign that I have homework to do on managing my stakeholders.  I think the managers should look into the dynamics of the team and the strengths of the members, and try to identify opportunities to allow everyone to shine.

    A personal example is that I am proficient with learning the enterprise IT solutions and be efficient in getting to the right data in the fastest way.  I have a colleague/mentor/partner who is 20 years older than me and has decades of experience dealing with the people side of the business, especially to be fair and effective in high conflict situations.  I learned that I can benefit from collaborating with him and assisting him with the administrative stuff, and asking him to be my mentor when I come across conflict management within my org.  We both recognize and appreciate each other's strengths and weaknesses and work as a team to get result.

    In summary, I think if a senior employee fails to mentor less experienced folks or if a junior employee fails to use all the resources available to him/her to learn and grow, they are both signs of low performance, and the manager needs to address it.

    Nader Shakerin
    Facilities Manager
    Intel Corporation
    Chandler AZ

  • 15.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 07-06-2018 02:06
    I have watched this thread with some curiosity, but I have avoided any response for one reason: I think that it is trite.  First, perhaps not too many of the stereotypical millenials, such as one of my granddaughters, entered chemical engineering in the first place.  The young ChemE grads that I have seen in the last few years have been about like all the others.  Including me.  And what is this business about "new ways of doing things".  Is that distributed control, local control, non-linear computer cotrol?  Perhaps it is meant that they are less profit focused and more benefit focused.
    We all had to be mentored and we all needed mentoring.  Some took to it more readily than others.  Some were mentored in a more structured environment.  Many of us required that allowances be made, and sometimes we made allowances, especially for those really bright and creative ones who could not get to work on time and had little tolerance for meetings, but who wold work on the solution to a problem 24 straight until a solution was found.  That last one was not me.
    The only differences that I have seen is that this group may be more "green" aware and socially conscious.
    As for growing up with more technology - I don't think so.  People forget what it was like to suddenly have strange people in the home back in the 50's.  Hey, wasn't that when the transistor was invented and jet engines were becoming feasible.
    Whatever happened to Smilin' Jack, anyway.

    William Hall, P.E.
    St Marys City MD

  • 16.  RE: Millennials in the Workplace

    Posted 07-06-2018 09:12

    Well said Nader.