Millennials come with a few stereotypes. They are said to be lazy, self-centered and flighty. Obviously, generalizations like these don’t tend to hold up. Millennials are entering the workforce in mass. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, today, Millennials make up about 25% of American workers, and by 2020 that number will grow to more than 40%. Rather than concentrating on the negative myths about Millennials, perhaps focusing on their strengths would be more beneficial.
They have actually found an iPad that works in the womb. Not really, but this is a generation who have been born and raised on some pretty amazing technology. They don’t just embrace technology; it is ingrained in them as a vital part of life. They know how to use that device, they know all the short cuts and they know what tech tools your company should invest in.
While the Boomers can teach Millennials a thing or two about work ethic, Millennials can mentor Boomers in the way of technology. Imagine a workplace in which everyone is tech support! 53% of 16- to 22-year-olds said they would rather give up their sense of smell than give up their technology. Millennials bring with them a vast knowledge of technology and they’re willing to share it. 70% of non-Millennial generations are open to reverse-mentoring by younger colleagues.
Millennials work to live, they most certainly don’t live to work, is a common phrase used to describe the work-life balance of Millennials. Boomers and Gen X'ers don’t really know how to take a break. Study after study show the benefits of taking vacations, taking personal days, or simply working on a good work-life balance. The benefits to the organization are vast. Kicking back every once in a while improved engagement, productivity and retention. Burn out is a very real thing, especially here in America. Millennials tend to bring balance to the workplace. They believe that work is what you do, not necessarily a place you go to. 89% claim that work-life balance is key to happiness on the job and 81% of them think that they should be able to make their own schedule.
A survey suggests that unlike Boomers who want their objectives, and to be left alone, Millennials want constant feedback. “…80% of Millennials said they want regular feedback from their managers, and 75% yearn for mentors.” This is often translated to the idea that Millennial need their hands held the whole way. This simply isn’t so; Millennials are interested in doing a good job through a cohesive workforce and open communication. Yes, they do need recognition, but more so they need a team.
When LinkedIn added the “Volunteer and Causes” option to profiles, Millennial jumped on it. 62% of users who added this option were Millennial. They are voters and activists and they love working for companies with a cause. This Millennial-inspired movement toward do-good has driven many companies to get involved more in their communities and outreach programs.
Not all Boomers are great workers and not all Millennial are lazy. Every stereotype has some truth, but it’s mostly just fodder. We can either perpetuate the myths that come along with each generation, or we can encourage the development of positive traits.