CHCOs: Millenials bring enthusiasm, desire for mentorship

Friday - 7/29/2011, 1:57pm EDT

Pat Tamburrino, DoD CHCO, and Michael Kane, Energy CHCO

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By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

Two chief human capital officers say Millenials - people born in 1980 or later - bring passion and enthusiasm to the federal workplace but also require guidance and mentorship.

"They want to link up with somebody," said Pat Tamburrino, CHCO for the Defense Department, in an interview with the Federal Drive.

Young feds want to work on meaningful projects and take a lead role - while under the guidance of an experienced employee, Tamburrino said.

Michael Kane, Energy's CHCO, said he has noticed Millenials want a "blackboard type of approach" to mentoring. In school, they are used to getting an assignment from the teacher and knowing they can reach the teacher anytime with questions, Kane said.

"They're used to talking to each other at eight o clock at night," he said. "What I'm seeing is that our supervisors are responding that way."

Energy has set up cohorts for staff - particularly engineers and technical employees - for what Kane calls "electronic mentoring." Employees can share experiences and develop case studies for solving problems, he said.

"It tends to break down geographic issues that we at the Energy Department have experienced for a long period of time," Kane said.

As agencies anticipate shrinking budgets, Kane warns not to scrimp on training and "experience-related travel."

"Focus on how you can maximize alternatives to the traditional ways of doing business, like recruiting," he said.

For example, agencies can dispatch students on stipends instead of recruitment officials, he said.

Millenials' motivation to serve the public is a trait recruiters can capitlize on. The new generation of federal employees grew up in a world defined by 9-11, and many remember that day "as a profound day in history," Tamburrino said.

"I hear that a lot in interviews as a really motivating factor to wanting to become a federal employee," he said.

This story is part of the series "The New Face of Government."