In a recent class I taught, there were several students who were instructors with the university’s ROTC program. In one of our discussions, we talked about the impact of Millennials on the military — and whether their influence had permeated the traditional top-down culture of our country’s armed forces.
The short answer — not too much — yet. Much of the Army’s leadership is decidedly not Millennial age, so the impact may come in the future. But for now, the most visible change they identified came in the form of a “stress card.” Should the exercise or training become too much for a solider, they can give their commander this card and be relieved from some of the exercises. I wonder how much it is used — and the peer repercussions from doing so — but it is an indication that things they are a changin’.
Think of what your organization has done to acknowledge the Millennial workers on your staff. Have you allowed them to have a voice at the table and a choice as to how their time is allocated? Do you provide frequent feedback and consciously note opportunities for praise? Have you included them as members of a team and sought their commitment to the purpose of their work?
You don’t have to provide a stress card, but you do need to find ways to engage everyone who works with you to get the most from their loyalty and performance. If the traditionally hierarchical military is adapting, certainly your organization can too.