Have you ever noticed that when people talk about millennials, it sometimes sounds like something you would hear on a National Geographic episode?
“As we approach this group of millennials at their local watering hole (café), observe how they are all on their electronic devices and ignoring their other companions around them,” or “Let’s observe the habits of this millennial herd, see how they neglected to show up for work today? It’s fascinating how they can just bum around and not contribute to society.”
Why is that?
Why has this generation been put under the microscope and judged for both their personal and professional lives? Well, it’s simple: the millennial generation really shook things up and people noticed! One of the biggest areas where millennials brought change is within the workplace. They now make up more than 30% of the workforce and are pushing boundaries every day. But is it really like what everyone says? Maybe, but what if things aren’t always as they appear to be? I bet if you watched closely you might be surprised with what you find. Here are some common misconceptions and their realities:
1. Millennials are arrogant efficient.
Millennials have gotten the bad reputation of being arrogant in the workplace. People feel that they’re not willing to take orders or direction, but is arrogance really the reason why? When you stop to think about it, could it be that they are just trying to be more efficient? In today’s world, everyone wants fast and simple. Through advanced technology and being natural born problem solvers, millennials understand that they have the power to create a better experience. They will question the “it’s always been done this way” concept because they believe in working smarter not harder. Through creativity and technology, this generation has been able to revolutionize the workplace. Therefore, it is important to embrace them, not stop them, and remember you WANT them to be efficient.
2. Millennials are entitled persistent.
When people describe millennials in the workplace many throw around the word entitlement. They express that this young generation doesn’t understand the meaning of hard work and paying their dues. Are you sure about that? Millennials absolutely do, but it might just be done at a different or faster pace. Millennials are now the most educated generation and they understand the importance of learning and growing new skills. They have embraced the power of learning because they understand that the work ladder is not a concept that is utilized in the work place anymore. Upward movement isn’t guaranteed just because you have been with a company for a long time. Millennials saw this change and adjusted quickly to ensure that they stay competitive. What millennials do understand is that if you don’t push for more responsibility, prove you deserve a promotion, or even ask how you can get a raise, you may never get it. In today’s world, companies want you to speak up and fight for what you want because it shows you have persistence.
3. Millennials are insubordinate logical.
Millennials have always been told that asking a question and searching for answers are positive traits to develop. However, somewhere along the way it has become a negative characteristic of the millennial generation. Why? Millennials are naturally curious and very eager to learn. They don’t want to just do something for the sake of doing it, they want to understand it and see the value. If they are given instructions to follow but don’t understand it completely, wouldn’t you want them to ask for clarification? Millennials want to ensure that when they do something they do it right the first time and it has value. Also, millennials are not just going to blindly do something without giving it any thought. You hired them for their brains, let them USE them! Believe it or not, they want to figure out if there is a faster, more logical approach. They are not trying to defy authority, they are just trying to understand, learn, be logical, and ultimately, help.
4. Millennials are lazy flexible.
Many people are confused on the work habits of millennials. They assume millennials are lazy and not devoted to their work because they don’t want to work the 9-5 shift in the office. I’ll let you in on a little secret…. millennials don’t want to work a 9-5 schedule! However, it’s not because they are lazy or not devoted, it’s because they want the flexibility to choose the location they work in, while completing their work on time. It’s still working hard just working differently. Millennials grew up understanding and embracing technology for communication. Yes, this means their phone might be glued to their hand, but with that type of constant connection they are more likely to get work done at all hours. They have no problem responding to an email on the train ride to work or at 9 o’clock at night as they are crawling into bed, it’s second nature for millennials. This is why companies have redefined the “normal” work schedule to be a bit more flexible. They understand that they get more out of their millennial employees as well as everyone else. I mean who doesn’t appreciate a work from home day?
No matter what your generation, everyone is marked with having positive and negative characteristics. Millennials were not dealt the greatest hand and being a millennial myself, I can honestly say it has not always been the easiest ride. However, one thing that I know I have learned from watching National Geographic is that to truly understand animals you should observe and interpret what you see from the animal’s perspective. While millennials might do things a bit differently, if you look at it from our viewpoint, you will begin to understand our thought process…I mean aren’t you wondering what we will do next?!
See you next week!