It doesn’t take much more than a rumbling of the “M word” in your next meeting to get every executive in the room to start rolling their eyes. And let’s face it – millennial bashing is a real thing now, and it’s happening in all kinds of ways. The fact that nobody is buying diamonds anymore? Blame millennials. The cereal industry is going under? It’s because millennials are too lazy to eat cereal. Rio Olympics TV ratings are down? Of course it was the millennials. Not to mention it turns out that we’re lazy, have terrible work ethics, and want everything handed to us too.
The frequently rolled eyes are a downer for millennials. Managers and workers often aren’t able to see past the millennial stigma to understand the advantages a productive millennial can bring to your workforce. As we sit just four years away from the oldest millennials turning 40, here are a few reasons millennials make great workers.
We Embrace Change
Perhaps it’s because most of us grew up with the changing face of the Internet during its formative years, or the fact that most of us grew up during the recession. Millennials not only embrace change, we respond well to change. Millennials see change as opportunity, and don’t hesitate at the chance to jump in head first. For companies in industries like tech, where you have to be flexible and fast to compete within your market, millennials might be the key to a more adaptive workforce. In fact, many organizations struggle with the nature and speed of change. Perhaps adopting a millennial mindset can help organizations to more graciously navigate the perpetual change many businesses face.
We’re Always Plugged In
A downside for millennials (but a perk for employers), is that we’re not always able to divide the line between work and home life. Being the social creatures that we are, millennials are always connected to their mobile devices. We’re comfortable responding to emails late at night. Setting up meetings and other activities are rolled up into the time we spend messing around on our mobile devices. While this may serve as a complication for those organizations trying to rigidly enforce FLSA rules for non-exempt employees, the convenience afforded by technology has allowed many millennials to focus on the bigger tasks at work because the minutiae are handled while waiting for uber to pick us up, waiting for our morning lattes, or waiting for the next episode of Broad City to load on Hulu.
We Ask Questions
Most kids get stuck in the “why” stage, asking “but why” ad nauseam until they’ve exhausted the parent, teacher, or other adult figure nearby. Millennials may not have outgrown this stage, and entered into the workforce questioning everything that our predecessors thought to be an absolute truth. Why can’t you share results of the compensation study? Because it’s our policy not to. But why is that your policy? And while our questions were originally met with significant resistance, now that we’ve tipped to being the largest generation in the workforce, organizations are starting to answer. It turns out that through the process of answering our questions, organizations have been forced to get really clear about what matters most – which is not a bad thing when working with limited resources to accomplish big goals.
Baby boomers and Gen X might be noticeably different from one another, but its not as big a divide as between baby boomers and millennials, or even between Gen X and millennials. One thing for sure is that the generation that comes after millennials, Generation Z, is going to resemble the millennial workforce more than it will any other working generation. With that said, the wants and needs you’re hearing now from millennials will likely be echoed from Gen Z. My advice? Listen to your millennials and be open to change.
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