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Faculty lecture will look at Millennials in the workforce

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – For the sixth annual Bethel College Women’s Association (BCWA) Faculty Public Lecture, Allison J. McFarland, Bethel College professor of management and marketing, will talk about the newest generation of employees to join the American workforce.

The lecture will be held Thursday, June 4, at 7 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center on the Bethel College campus. BCWA members will serve refreshments in the art gallery area afterward. The event is free and open to the public.

McFarland, chair of Bethel’s Department of Business and the Walter C. and Helen E. Claassen Chair of Business Administration, will speak on “The New Generation at Work: Managing Millennials.” She noted, “Any manager who has employees who were born after 1980 knows that this generation shows up to work with a whole new perspective on employment, a different set of values and a distinctive work ethic.”

Her lecture will examine questions such as: What motivates Millennials? What are they looking for in a boss? What experiences and work environment do they seek? How can we tap into their creativity?

“Each generation of workers has markedly different styles and preference of how they communicate and work together and the newest generation to join the workforce is no exception,” McFarland said. Millennials, also called Generation Y, were born between 1980 and 2000, and are as different from Generation X (born between 1965-80) as Generation X was from the Baby Boomers (born between 1946-64).

“Authors suggest that Millennials are sociable, optimistic, talented, well-educated, collaborative and achievement-oriented,” McFarland said. They “have been told that they are needed, special and indispensable. Raised by parents believing in the importance of self-esteem, Millennials often consider themselves ready to overcome any challenge and leap tall buildings. Unlike previous generations of workers, Millennial employees are not motivated by threats of punishment or firing. They expect flexible work schedules, advanced workplace technology and negotiation instead of direction.”

Millennials who are now old enough to join the workforce “are more likely to ask their older colleagues to chill out and get a life than ask for advice,” she added.

“The purpose of this presentation,” McFarland said, “will be to provide current data and perspectives regarding Millennials in the workplace and to offer advice for management strategy and workplace productivity.”

The BCWA Faculty Public Lecture award is open to any Bethel College professor and carries with it a $1,000 stipend, with $200 going to the faculty member and the remainder to his/her department to be used at that department’s discretion. Last year’s winner was Penelope Adams Moon, associate professor of history.

For more information, contact Mary Schmidt, BCWA president, at 620-367-8219.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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