As has always been the case, older generations look at younger generations with a certain amount of distrust and disdain. But in most cases, it’s unwarranted. As millennials multiply within your organization, some older employees might judge them based on a number of stereotypes. Here are five of them — and why they’re wrong.
1. Millennials are needy
Some folks think that millennials are needy because they want feedback and coaching more than workers in previous generations. But remember, this group grew up with technology and real-time communications (e.g., AOL Instant Messenger), so they’re used to getting information quickly.
Some managers might not want to change to accommodate their younger workers’ preferences. But millennials are not being needy. They just want to hear their managers’ feedback — both the good and the bad — so they can improve and develop professionally. It’s really a win-win situation: millennials develop and you gain a more knowledgable employee.
2. Millennials are lazy
All of that buzz about how millennials want to work flexible hours and be able to work from home whenever they want? That must mean members of this generation are incredibly lazy, right?
It’s true millennials enjoy flexible working arrangements. But it’s not because they’re lazy. A recent study by Bentley University showed that 77% of millennials believe flexible working makes them more productive.
The concept of work is changing altogether thanks to technology. Sure, some millennials might prefer strolling into the office at 11 a.m. if they’re able to. But you can expect those same workers to check their work email when they’re home 12 hours later.
3. Millennials are job-hoppers
According to a recent Forbes article, the average millennial will have anywhere between 15 and 20 jobs over the course of their career.
Job-hopping is a surefire way to boost your salary, as CNN reports. But believe it or not, millennials care just as much about doing meaningful work as they do about raking in a hefty salary. So while some millennials will undoubtedly jump ship to find a job that pays more money — is that a trait that’s really unique to them? Many of the younger generation will stay put once they find a job they love doing.
4. Millennials are self-focused
Millennials pretty much built social media. So it should come as no surprise that a lot of members of this generation enjoy fishing for likes on Facebook and trying to come up with the wittiest tweets so they can get retweeted on Twitter.
But don’t forget a lot of older folks like social media too.
Millennials are definitely not as self-focused as they’re made out to be. In 2014, 84% of millennials made a charitable contribution, and 70% of them spent at least one hour of their time volunteering, a recent CNBC article points out. Odds are, they’re willing to lend a hand more often than you think.
5. Millennials are addicted to digital
It’s true that millennials are tech savvy and intuitively understand how to use all kinds of platforms. But this doesn’t mean they don’t value interacting with real human beings in the real world.
In fact, a recent study by IBM indicated that the top three things millennials enjoy about work are all physical activities. They like attending conferences sponsored by third parties, learning during in-person classroom training sessions, and working alongside knowledgeable colleagues.
With the huge influx of millennials entering the workforce, it’s time that people of all ages let go of the negative stereotypes about millennials. They’re not as lazy, needy, or selfish as you may think. Give them a chance, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to how much they have to contribute to your organization.
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