Since I’ve graduated and entered the work force I have read and heard a plethora of negative things about millennials. They’re lazy. Distracted. They act entitled. Well as a millennial myself I would have to say that I, for one, do not feel that these are entirely accurate descriptors.
Just to give you an idea of the hostile, post-grad environment we millennials are entering, check out this Fortune blog post by Patricia Sellers entitled Who Cares about a Career? Not Gen Y. The article opens with this bold statement: “Any Baby Boomer who has worked alongside Millennials – Gen Yers born after 1978 – knows how differently they view work and career. While we Baby Boomers typically place high value on pay, benefits, stability and prestige, Gen Y cares most about fun, innovation, social responsibility, and time off.”
While the above statement may be true for some Millennials (every generation has its share of bad seeds i.e. Paris Hilton and this disgruntled internship applicant) I would argue that fun, innovation, and social responsibility are just some of the many aspects millennials looks for in a career – and maybe not even the most important ones at that. So let’s move away from the assumptions and negative statements and take a look at some of the positive traits millennials are bringing to the work force.
Millennials are eager and self-confident.
Millennials grew up being told that they could be whatever they wanted to be. That they would be successful. Special. Now as they launch their careers, they want to make sure that the above statements come true. Most millennials will walk into an organization self-assured, ready to learn, and aiming to climb to the top.
Millennials can multitask.
Millennials have been on sensory overload almost their whole lives. But most of them have learned to manage it effectively and have become efficient multi-taskers. You can likely give a millennial multiple projects without being met with a look of sheer panic.
Millennials live out loud.
Through social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, millennials are connecting and sharing more than ever before. Millennials are likely to post positive things your organization is doing or things they’ve achieved that they’re proud of. They can become some of your biggest supporters and advocates in the social networking world.
Millennials thrive off of positive reinforcement.
It’s fairly simple to keep a millennial happy. When appropriate, give them a good dose of recognition and positive reinforcement. If you’re good to them, they’ll want to work even harder for you.
Sure, I understand that some of you might already be construing ways in which the above positive traits could be turned into negative ones. But I want to challenge you to think a little differently. Perhaps optimistically. So the next time you’re assigning teams for a group project at work, don’t be too quick to rule out the millennial.
For more insights on millennials in the workplace check out this previous LaughlinOutLoud blog post.