We've all heard the negative stereotypes about Generation Y, also known as Millennials, which roughly encompasses those born in the mid-70′s to the early 2000′s.  They have an entitlement attitude. They think too highly of themselves.  They need constant feedback.

Whether these stereotypes are accurate or just gross generalizations is up for debate. But our HR staff learned at the 2011 Cleveland HR Star Conference that these younger workers also have a lot of qualities that make them great employees, and perhaps even better contract candidates.

Dr. Bob Nelson, a renowned expert and author on the subject of employee motivation, spoke on how to motivate Millennials. He said that Millennials possess many of the top qualities hiring managers look for, including:

  1. Technological expertise
  2. Ability to learn quickly
  3. Resourceful
  4. Hardworking
  5. High achieving
  6. Ability to absorb massive amounts of information

One of the most important things companies need to do to motivate these workers is show them how their work makes a difference.  Workplaces also need to become more flexible. Millennials don't understand why they have to come into the office at a set time to do something they could do from their laptop from anywhere at any time.  Millennials also crave social interactions, so teamwork and socializing opportunities are important, Nelson said.

We think the combination of these great qualities and the factors that motivate Millennials make them ideal contract candidates.  Contractors need to be quick learners and resourceful because they are expected to be able to "hit the ground running" and work without a lot oversight. Additionally, it's easy for contractors to see how their work makes a difference because they are often working on a project or a critical deadline.  

Also, contract work is about as flexible as it gets. Contractors can choose when to accept assignments, and because they are not employees, they are often not required to be in the office or work standard hours.  Contractors also often work in teams to complete specific projects.

You may run into clients who have a bad view of Millennials, but if their job openings require any of the qualities we have listed here, you may want to convince them to give these younger workers a try, especially if they are looking to fill contract positions.

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

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