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Millennials – We’re Really Not That Bad

Written by Alton Multhauf, Vice President - Treasury Management

amulthauf

There’s a major change going on in our society today that is affecting the work place. There are now more Millennials than Baby Boomers in the workforce and the percentage will only continue to grow. This has created a management challenge, which is common with every generational change.

Being a Millennial myself, I’d like to shed some light on the truths and rumors that are so often said about my generation.

This topic came up in a meeting when I asked for harsher feedback on performance. I also said that I thought a little emotion or anger wouldn’t hurt the team when it came to accountability. Everyone thought that if you yelled at a member of the “participation trophy”/“#activist generation”, they would run for the hills crying or need to sit on someone’s couch and work through how someone raising their voice made them feel.

It’s true that Millennials generally need more frequent feedback, but here’s the kicker…we want criticism just as much (if not more) as we want a pat on the back. We are goal-and-results driven and knowing we’re working as effectively as possible is very important to us.

Below is a list of five common rumors expressed about millennials and the truth behind them.

WHAT YOU HEAR:

  1. Millennials are focused on career development
    Along with feedback, Millennials want to know that their employer is pushing them to play a larger role within the company and expand their knowledge base.
  2. Benefits and social responsibility of employers is a top criterion
    Having a good benefits package and being a socially responsible company are important, but that doesn’t mean that competitive wages should be ignored.
  3. Millennials are more transient in their careers and jump from company to company
    Loyalty is a two-way street. If you want your top performing millennials to stay with you, then you must promote their professional development and compensate them fairly.
  4. Millennials are lazy
    Double-check to make sure they are hitting their productivity goals. If they are, then they may have found a more efficient way to complete a task. If that’s the case, help them find better ways to use their time and put their skillsets to work.
  5. Millennials are narcissists
    While I don’t have a good answer for why Millennials take pictures of themselves to post on social media (but, hey, what’s wrong with loving yourself?), our generation is extremely civil-minded and cares about solving community problems.

We had a recent seminar on this topic called “Generational Differences at Work”. Presenter Steve Benzschawel, Director of Business World, provided the Millennial perspective through his lighthearted and fun presentation, examining the stereotypes and learning styles of our multigenerational workforce.

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