Why Your Idea of Millennial Workers Is All Wrong

By Chris Murdock

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We’ve all heard the statistics about millennials in the workforce and how this generation is continuing to grow in workplaces each day. In fact, millennials are currently the largest generation in the U.S. labor force as more than one-in-three American labor force participants (35%) are millennials. As these individuals navigate through the workforce, we’ve also heard a large range of claims about those who fall into this particular generation, deeming them less than great workers and possibly bad hires. Millennials can be perceived as selfish, entitled, demanding and even addicted to technology. Why? It’s possible these tendencies may be more common for this group of people rather than in other generations. But, is this the truth for all millennials? Absolutely not.

Inflicting stereotypes like these on a generation of workers can be detrimental to the workforce as a whole, creating the possibility for assumptions about work ethic amongst new co-workers and even hiring managers. What is the truth when it comes to millennial workers?

Millennials are Motivated

Motivation is a quality any employer would appreciate in their workforce and millennials are all about it. 65% of millennials consider personal development to be the most important factor in a job, so it’s safe to say a majority of them aren’t just accepting any job offer. Millennials are looking for a role they can continue to grow in and push their abilities through each project or problem. Providing an environment these individuals can continue to push their development forward will only help you grow your business as a whole.

Millennials Have a Desire to Improve

According to PwC, nearly 72% of survey respondents under age 30 reported they would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis. This is over twice the percentage of every other generation. The desire for this feedback is to continuously improve their work and correct any mistakes they’ve made. While you may be thinking they’re just looking for a quick pat on the back or an accolade for reassurance, this is not typically the case. Millennials want to know and correct their work. 92% of respondents agreed with the assertion, “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.” They want to hear feedback, whether good or bad, so they can improve.

Millennials are Optimistic

While millennials have the highest level of student loan debt out of all other generations, they are still optimistic about their future and the money they will eventually make. More than eight-in-ten say they currently have enough money to lead the lives they want or expect to in the future. This type of optimistic attitude millennials have about their money is sure to be reflected in the workplace when their team may be facing adversity like a lost client or contract. Having someone who is optimistic on the team, or even the leaders of the team can help get employees through tough times at work.

Millennials are Purposeful

Contrary to what some believe, most millennials aren’t just looking for a paycheck. 40% of millennials who plan to remain in their jobs beyond 2020 say their employers have a strong sense of purpose beyond financial success. Having a sense of purpose at work and transparency into the larger picture of an organization helps employees see how their work is contributing to not only their own personal goals but to the company’s goals as well.

It’s only natural millennials find this to be a large factor to keep them engaged at work. Employees who care about the purpose they bring to your organization are an essential asset to moving your company into the future and innovating to move past competitors.

Like other generations, millennials have acquired a set of stereotypes about their workplace attitudes, but it’s important to remember these are like any other stereotype and should not be the only things you think of when it comes to these individuals in the workplace.

This article was originally published on the IQTalent Partners Blog.

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