Future of Work

Here's how millennials can make an impact at work

Workers cast shadows as they stroll among the office towers Sydney's Barangaroo business district in Australia's largest city, May 8, 2017.  REUTERS/Jason Reed - RC174F389170

Millennials are encouraged to do their research about an organization and share their perspectives. Image: REUTERS/Jason Reed

Avery Blank
Contributor, Forbes
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Future of Work?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of Work is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of Work

Millennials are the largest generation in history and will control $24 trillion of wealth by 2020. More and more millennials are both joining the workforce and becoming clients, customers and users. The millennial generation is not one to be ignored.

Some companies like Cisco are developing reverse mentoring programs, where younger professionals can advise more experienced professionals. Organizations can gain a competitive advantage when they listen to their millennial employees because they reflect the preferences of an important customer segment.

But millennials don’t need a formal mentoring program for them to add value to senior executives. Here’s how you can do it on your own and demonstrate your leadership:

1. Have confidence.

It can be difficult for younger professionals to see that they can help more experienced professionals. It is not how much you know but what you know. Being a millennial, you have insight into what this generation wants and expects. You can add value to senior executives by sharing your millennial perspective, as well as your expertise in areas like social media. You have something they don’t have, so have confidence that you can add value.

Do you still lack confidence in your ability to add value? Think about Yelp reviews. Who is writing most of the reviews? Millennials. You are already advising and giving feedback to people older than you, and you don’t even know it.

2. Be prepared.

Do your research. Understand what the executive does, the team on which the executive works and the organization’s goals and priorities. Identify the context in which the executive works and what the person’s responsibilities are. You can add better value when you combine this context with your millennial perspective.

For instance, you believe it would help the business to identify and better communicate its relevance. Knowing that millennials value purpose, look into how the business is relevant in today’s world and consider your perspective to grasp how that might translate into a mission that the market could relate to and be interested in.

Image: Fast Company
Have you read?

3. Problem-solve.

Thriving companies solve problems. To add value to a senior executive, think about how you can solve an issue that the organization is having.

Let’s say, for example, that the company is trying to identify a better fee structure. You could think about how millennials, with a preference for predictability and transparency, might appreciate a fixed fee model and regular communication of milestones (as opposed to billing by the hour and submitting an invoice at the end of a long-time period or upon completion of a project).

4. Tell the truth.

Be honest with the senior executive. Tell them what they need to be better at their role and improve the organization. If you are diplomatic and frame your suggestion as solving a pain point, they will want to hear what you have to say. Take advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate your judgment, and show that you are an emerging leader.

Senior professionals can learn from younger professionals, and you don’t need to wait to be asked to share your thoughts. Leverage the opportunity to add value and demonstrate your leadership.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Future of WorkLeadership
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

From 'Quit-Tok' to proximity bias, here are 11 buzzwords from the world of hybrid work

Kate Whiting

April 17, 2024


About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum