Lazy. Spoiled. Entitled.
These are just a few of the words typically used to stereotype the generation born between the early ‘80s and early 2000s, known as “millennials.” In fact, studies find that over 40% of non-millennials describe the cohort in mostly negative terms. However, what they’re forgetting is that this is also the generation that has grown up during a time that included the most alarming terrorist attack in our country’s history; the rise and fall of the economy and floundering job market; and the birth of smart phones, home internet capabilities, and so much more.
For the first time, millennials are now predicted to comprise the majority of the global workforce, a statistic that is expected to grow to 75% by 2025. As Baby Boomers are reaching the age of retirement, millennials are filling their shoes and bringing along new mindsets, innovative ideas, and somewhat altered priorities.
Five things millennials value that positively impact the workplace:
- Flexible schedules and work/life balance. In fact, FreelancerUnion.org found that nearly 80% of millennials would consider quitting their jobs to freelance. Plus, almost half of millennials value flexible hours and vacation policies over pay when choosing a job.
- Giving back. Millennials have been found to value “meaningful work” over compensation. A 2014 Millennial Impact Report by consulting firm Achieve found that 87% of millennials donated to a charity in the past year, 47% volunteered for a cause or nonprofit in the past month, and 57% desired more company-wide volunteer opportunities.
- Global opportunities. Over three-fourths of millennials report wanting to travel globally as much as possible, 71% want to work abroad, and the 18-to-35-year-old age group is expected to spend incrementally more on leisure travel than any other in the coming year.
- Forming a community. Although a sense of community, teamwork and transparency in the workplace is valued by all, a PWC study found that millennials place an even higher importance on these values compared to their non-millennial counterparts. Plus, a whopping 71% of millennials report wanting their coworkers to be their “second family.”
- Multi-tasking. From growing up in a technologically-advanced world, millennials are used to switching focuses between multiple screens and priorities. In fact, millennials are able to switch their attention between media platforms 27 times per hour, compared to 17 times for older generations.
Another important point to recognize? Millennials’ preferences don’t differ too significantly from older generations’. Therefore, when companies make changes to accommodate the changing times and demographics of the workforce – which they must if they hope to remain successful – they will likely positively impact ALL employees.
At Assessment+, we have seen firsthand the unique insights and solutions that a young mind can bring–whether they are jumpstarting our social media initiative, becoming the masters of our database software, or simply suggesting innovative ideas to better our business processes. Plus, through interactions with the superstar millennials who are climbing the corporate chain of our clients’ companies and seeing the valuable investment of leadership development within this demographic, we are continually impacted and wowed by their accomplishments and positive, inquisitive attitudes.
So, when thinking of the first words that come to mind to describe millennials, perhaps these will replace “lazy, spoiled, and entitled” as the demographic changes the work place and the world: Tech-savvy. Unique. Connected. Diverse. Inventive.