Even if you’re not a sports fan, you’ve at least heard all the buzz about the Oklahoma City Thunder, a star team up against the Miami Heat in a very tight NBA Finals. With their rise-from-the-ashes story of triumph, this young team—with players averaging under age—30, serves as an example of the power of youth vigor and ambition.
Writer Jullien Gordon details how many employers can take a page from OKC’s playbook about how to attract, motivate and maximize the skills of young professionals to ensure worker retention and company innovation.
Mentorship: Help us grow. You get old when you stop learning. Age isn’t a function of time—it’s a function of one’s willingness to learn. Millennials, it seems, have an undying love for learning.
According to Pew Research Center, the millennial generation is on track to become the most highly educated generation ever, with 19% done with college, 39% still in college, and 30% planning to earn post-secondary degrees. This desire for learning doesn’t end at college graduation. Millennials want professional growth opportunities on the job.
Scott Brooks, the Thunder’s head coach who turned the team around from a 22-47 record to a 47-19 record in the past four years, says, “You learn from playing against the best players and the best teams, and we’re going to keep fighting and figuring out ways to beat them.” And this year, they did that by beating the Mavericks, Lakers, and Spurs to make it to the NBA Finals. Thunder players’ appetite for greatness is also satisfied by learning from more experienced athletes. For example, Kevin Durant has been mentored by Lebron James since entering the league.
This is exactly what we, millennials, want in the office. Challenges to help us grow and mentors who will help us get there.