Making the Mark for Millennials in Public Service
On November 3, 2016, Management Concepts participated in the third part of a four-part professional development series with the Young Government Leaders (YGL) – Atlanta Chapter and Blacks In Government NOW Generation (BIG-NOW). We have joined forces to create these events in an effort to increase the participation and engagement of underrepresented groups within public service.
Over 80 participants joined us for our first event in Atlanta for breakfast and a lively discussion on how Millennials today are needed more than ever to fill the talent gap facing the government workforce. Based on PWC’s 14th Annual Global CEO Survey, it is projected by 2020 that Millennials will comprise half the global workforce, which means they will increasingly be in positions to hire, cultivate, train, and promote workers.
Our keynote speaker was Kay Lawton of the Centers for Disease Control. Ms. Lawton has spent her entire professional career in public health, first as a nurse at a local health department and then at the Federal level at CDC. Currently, she is the Management Officer for the Center for Global Health, overseeing a budget of approximately $3B, and 2,000+ staff working in 60 countries. She shared key points from her own personal experiences as well as various articles, such as:
Forbes, November 6th, 2015 – Millennials in the Workplace, They Don’t Need Trophies but They Want Reinforcement
INC.com, July 30th, 2015 – Millennials in the Workforce: They’re More Different Than You Think
Harvard Business Review, August 17th, 2016; Millennials are Actually Workaholics, According to Research
Additionally, the program included a panel moderated by Tim Bowden, Executive Director, People and Performance Consulting from Management Concepts.
We heard from the following panelists:
- Naima Halim-Chestnut, EEO Officer, Environmental Protection Agency
- Melanie Johnson, Program Branch Chief, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- Lola Kress, Regional Communications Director, Small Business Administration
- Eric Zdanowicz, Regional Manager, Peace Corps
The panel agreed that all generations need to work together to change the culture and perception of Federal agencies. The voice of Millennials should not be muted but instead embraced and channeled to fuel innovation and creativity. They urged the audience to train supervisors and managers to communicate openly and frequently. No matter what generation you are, it is known that managers have major influence over employees’ desire to stay in a job. Millennials want feedback frequently and value relationships with others who take an interest in mentoring them.
This panel of dynamic speakers dispelled many of the myths we hear and read daily. To those who attended in Atlanta: Thank you all for your participation. You are all truly #ChangeAgents leading our country, and I am truly excited to have met you and heard your stories. I feel that the more we talk in an open forum and lead in numbers our voices will be heard and change will be made.