The Myth of the Millenial in the Workplace

We’ve all heard it.  Millennials are not committed to their work, they expect instant recognition and promotion, they are self-absorbed, and they eat their young (okay I made that one up).  Generational diversity has replaced race and ethnicity as the diversity topic of the day.  Maybe it’s just me but I view many of the traits attributed to Millennials as necessary for employee engagement and a happy workplace.  They mirror many of the traits I attempt to share with clients.

A comprehensive 2012 study by MTV called “No Collar Workers” focuses on their perspectives about the workplace and careers, and what often comes to light is how different their views are from that of their parents’ generation, the boomers.

The study found that:

Nearly 9 in 10 Millennials want their workplace to be social and fun.

You want me to be engaged?  Then provide a workplace where the culture is fun and inclusive. Not sure why fun and work and mutually exclusive. I know, I know, “these kids are on social media all day instead of working”.  I agree, why spend all day checking Facebook when there is much better stuff online to waste your day with.

95% are “motivated to work harder when I know where my work is going”.

Meaningful work is a mainstay on most employee satisfaction polls.  Knowing that my works counts for something is one of the biggest workplace motivators – and it’s free.  Sharing information on a “need to know” basis is no longer sufficient.  Transparency is big with Millennials and is essential for any mature, confident Manager.

83% of Millennials are “looking for a job where my creativity is valued”.

So you come equipped with quick ideas and initiative. You can do research in the blink of an eye and supply me with the latest, cutting-edge trends and technology.  Creativity is way overrated.  I would much rather have an office full of stagnant, unmotivated people who prefer the status quo.

As a non-Millennial (see how I dodged my age), I often remind people that good and bad employees come in all generations. We just tend to notice the bad ones more when they are different from us.  I also remind the Baby Boomers that the Millennials they complain about – are their kids.   That’s what us trainers call an AHA moment.