Since millennials are going to take over the workforce soon, leaders the world over are asking one question: ‘Who are they?’ And the Pew Research Center found an answer. According to them, millennials are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry — and optimistic about the future.
Is that a comprehensive definition of their generation? Probably. But is it enough to help you work with them? Maybe not. Thus, here’s debunking some myths about them as employees.
Myth 1: They are rebellious. Though it is true that you cannot take the autocratic leader approach with millennials, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are resistant to authority. Don’t hand out orders. Lead with direction and instruction. Consider this: University of Southern California researchers studied 25,000 people in 22 countries, and found that 41% of millennials agreed “employees should do what their manager tells them, even when they can’t see the reason for it,” compared to 30% of baby-boomers! It is assured leadership they are seeking, and just being listened to for their ideas.
Myth 2: They are anti-careerists. A person who follows one career path and considers it to be of prime importance in his life, is called a careerist. And millennials are not perceived to have such values. It is believed that they thrive on the gig-economy. But, a poll by CEB busted this myth by reporting that 33% of millennials put “future career opportunity” among their top five reasons for choosing a job, compared with 21% for other generations.
Infact, millennials are more likely to enjoy face-to-face conversations with their managers about their career plans, than the baby boomers. If they believe they can make progress in their career with your company, you will have their loyalty. They choose knowledge and experience over money.
Myth 3: They don’t collaborate. This is a tricky one, because compared to all other generations, millennials report the highest level of distrust (37%), for their peers. But, this does not make them individualists. They are a competitive group, with more than 50% of them reporting that getting ahead of others is the reason they get out of bed in the morning. However, they recognize that others have strengths and gifts different from theirs’, and wish to leverage that. It is this possibility of co-creation that even keeps them engaged!
Myth 4: They are workaholics. This is a common one! Due to the technology and social media invasion we experience, it is believed that millennials don’t have boundaries between work and life. But, a study by Viacom pointed out that 81% believe they should make their own hours at work. Their ask – as long as they are productive and meet their goals, they have the right to be respected for their other life choices.
With this information in sight, how does your strategy for engaging with millennials change?