When Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers hear the term ‘Millennial,’ a few words come to mind: lazy, entitled and addicted (to technology, anyway). Is this an accurate and fair representation of the Millennial generation, or are these just negative stereotypes? With Millennials representing the fastest-growing generation of workers in the United States, understanding them should be a top priority for today’s hiring managers.
Millennials represent everyone born between 1980 and 2000. This generation tried to enter the workforce after September 11th, during the Great Recession, and had to fight for a limited number of jobs against some stiff competition—its own peers. Millennials have more college degrees than any generation in U.S. history. They enter the workforce with fresh ideas, but their way of thinking also ‘disrupts’ the traditional Baby Boomer and Gen-Xer worker mindset.
Addicted to technology
We live in a fast-paced, on-demand world. Millennials embrace technology in an effort to work smarter, not harder. This generation grew up with the ability to find answers instantly. When you see Millennials on their smart phones in the middle of a business meeting, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are goofing around on Facebook—they might be researching the answer to a question you just asked. Assume positive intent.
Lazy work ethic
Millennials crave a healthier work/life balance than their predecessors. They want the ability to work from home or outside the traditional Monday-Friday, 9-to-5 schedule, especially if it means they can get more work done. Millennials understand that they will lose an hour sitting in traffic each day and they can spend that extra hour working at home. In the eyes of a Baby Boomer, this may seem like Millennials just want to work in their pajamas. Remember, productivity doesn’t look the same as it did 30 years ago.
Because many Baby Boomers work for the same company for decades, they don’t understand when Millennials’ resumes already list ten previous jobs. To older generations this seems flaky, but the truth is that Millennials just want to feel valuable. It is more important for them to feel appreciated than it is to make a lot of money or build seniority at a company. If their bosses treat them like dirt, they will leave. That isn’t entitlement; it’s refusing to settle for poor management.
Millennials don’t want your gold watch or your corner office; they want to feel important. They bring just as much value to the workplace as Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, but that ‘value’ may manifest itself in different ways. For the first time in history, the workplace comprises up to five different generations, giving us an unprecedented opportunity to work together. How we choose to adapt to the unique skills and mindsets of other generations will ultimately determine our success in today’s workforce.
How do you feel about the Millennial mindset? Join the conversation by tweeting us @PointOneRecruit.