“The Millennial generation is the largest, most diverse generation in the history of the United States. They will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2030. Unfortunately, Millennials made a poor first impression in the business world, developing the reputation of being lazy, entitled, selfish, and disloyal. The truth is, Millennials are no lazier or more entitled, selfish, or disloyal than any previous generation; they just grew up with different experiences than older generations and are motivated by different things.”
- Chris Tuff, The Millennial Whisperer
We surveyed our social media audience and asked them what they saw as strengths and weaknesses of the Millennial generation. Encouragingly, 56% of the people who responded said they were Millennials, which means we’ve got a good ratio for our answers! Some of the strengths they highlighted were:
Want to create a lasting impact
Eagerness to learn/adapt
Dedication to quality over quantity
Some of the weaknesses that were highlighted were things like:
Lack of commitment
Addicted to technology
Perhaps you’ve found yourself frustrated with the Millennials on your team. If so, you’re not alone. We’re not saying you need to coddle every single person on your team. But we think a little bit of understanding and a few small adjustments in tactics can go a long way with what will soon be the biggest percentage of your workforce!
Here are three insights into the Millennial generation, along with three tips you can use to better lead the ones on your team.
One stereotype of Millennials is that they aren’t loyal to the companies they work for. Statistically, they hop from job to job whenever they get bored. But in reality, boredom or lack of commitment isn’t the primary reason they leave or stay at a job. What creates loyalty in Millennials above all else is values. Most people in this generation would rather work sporadically in service to values than to work consistently in a non-value based environment.
One thing that actually attracts employers to Millennials is that they are apparently willing to work for much less pay than older generations, especially to get a foot in the door and get experience. This is because, for Millennials, the actual dollar amount they are paid is only part of what they consider as their compensation. A Millennial is much more willing than previous generations to take a smaller paycheck if the other perks of the job are attractive enough.
Millennials actually do have some knowledge to offer older generations. While they may come off arrogant towards older generations, it’s not difficult to see how they would actually know quite a lot about how an organization or product could connect to other Millennials…which is something that older generations typically have trouble understanding.
If you want to keep the Millennials that you hire, instead of watching them leave for another job in 6 months, the best thing you can do is to lead from your values. Odds are, your organization already has a set of values, probably buried deep down on a page of your company website. And they’re probably pretty good. Bring them up once per week. Post them somewhere visible in your office. Every now and then, spend a little extra time focusing on one of them and making sure your team is operating with integrity towards your values. Millennials will flee if they sense your organization says one thing about its values but then operates as if those values don’t exist.
Leaders and employers have an opportunity to save some money on Millennials if they can think outside the box of the paycheck. One of the best ways to do this is to offer ongoing growth and development opportunities. Giving access to coaches, trainers, courses, and conferences is a great perk that will help build real team loyalty within the Millennial generation.
Finally, rather than focusing on how Millennials need to change, you should be leveraging your Millennial team members’ generation for your team’s success. Older generations are not typically as knowledgable as Millennials about things like technology, fashion, culture, or social media. Giving them roles in these (and other) areas can be a strategically wise move. Another way to do this is to make sure your product or service is something they would want themselves. If you want to be successful with your Millennial customers/clients, you need to make sure you know what they want. The Millennials on your team are your best resource to find that out!