With the ever changing workforce, many employers are asking themselves if they want to hire employees from a generation with many negative associations — “a self-entitled, lazy, and narcissistic bunch.” Facts are… many of these myths are wrong. Studies from Rutgers University find that this group of young adults are actually hard working, willing to learn, and ready to go that extra mile. So what’s the problem? There are a few common misconceptions that overshadow an employer’s judgment when hiring. Common myths:
Impatient and Disloyal Employees
The last thing an employer wants to do is go through a lengthy process selecting a suitable employee, only to start the hiring process all over again a year later. The truth is, many millennials entering the workforce are seeking to grow and cultivate within a single organization. While experience and growth within a company is what a millennial is ultimately after, they will also stay with a company if they feel that it’s an environment that they can align their values with and seek constant improvement. As far as loyalty, in a study from American Express, Gen Y employees have positive views of their managers feeling that they trust their superiors have experience, wisdom, and are willing to accept them as mentors.
Another misconception is that many individuals from this generation are too lazy to thrive in a workplace. There are different paths to success, and that is where a miscommunication can occur. Millennials tend to be more “free flowing” but ultimately complete the designated task. That is something that an employer from previous generations might not always understand. Where Gen X workforce employers have always had a clear process of completing tasks, Generation Y workers love and are practically experts at multitasking. With more platforms such as texting, instant messaging, social networking, and internet browsing—millennial workers have evolved into more competent, efficient, and productive workers when applying these tools. A great step in progressing the company is for the employer to recognize that there may be multiple ways to accomplishing certain tasks.
This generation is most infamously known for being the “Me! Generation” and “Selfie Generation”, but as far as the work atmosphere is concerned, millennials are a strong team-oriented bunch. The concept to understand here is that this generation is not as narcissistic as the rest of us. Generation Y does value originality and obtain their own identity through individuality, but they do work well in collaborative groups and teams, especially with people their own age. Generation Y workers value independent thinking and expression, and perceive themselves as unique individuals rather than letting their occupations define who they are.
Poor Work Ethic
“Work smarter, not harder.”
This is a mantra that follows a large percentage of Generation Y into the workplace. Generation Y was cultivated by the technology boost and hearing their parents talk about their jobs. With using “smart cuts” to be more efficient, millennials target a problem with a time conscious mindset… working smarter to achieve something in a shorter amount of time.
Generation Y are either finishing up their degrees, or haven’t been out that long (less than 7 years). Workers from this generation refuse to trade in their exciting life for a dull “9-5” atmosphere. With the change in direction of many company’s culture, many millennials seek out fun and flexible environments. This generation is realizing that there is more to life than work. Generation Y has a strong work ethic, just not in the traditional sense. They thrive in a creative and exciting work area and see work as a means to enjoy life. According to a study from Rutgers University, when millennials are placed in a “millennial friendly” environment that is still work intensive, they are “work horses and have a persistent hunger to discover new experiences, take advantage of opportunities and push the boundaries.”
Misconceptions about Generation Y are understandable, but the first solution in moving forward as an employer is to throw out the generational stereotypes and biases. The only way you can determine if an employee is adequate is by giving them a chance to prove themselves first. It is important for employers to understand that one bad employee is not a holistic representation of the entire generation, and vice versa. It is projected that by 2025, Generation Y will make up fifty-percent of the world’s workforce. As an employer, it is better to become adaptable and embrace the millennials sooner, than later.
Already have a worker from Generation Y working for you? Check out this C-L-E-A-R strategy Hollister Staffing implanted in their company when dealing with a millennial employee.
Communication: Millennials respond well to guidelines that are set for them. Clear expectations should be made from the moment they step into an interview. In the absence of clarity, be prepared for questioning. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on educating each Millennial. Because of this, they are motivated and dedicated to planning their future.
Listen: Millennials have always been heard. Baby boomers made their kids the center of the family universe. Not only do Millennials want to make a difference, they need opportunities to advance, learn and grow. Companies should seek to understand and invest in millennial talents and passions.
Engage: Millennials expect that work life and personal time will be blended. They are a generation of “you can have it all” integrating career, social, and community service.
Accept: Millennials have a different work style. They are the “instant generation” and are master multitaskers. They simultaneously watch TV as they update Facebook and can read a book while listening to music. And, the fact that their life is all about being up-to-date, they just may have a better idea of how to get something done.
Respect: Millennials can learn and teach. Pair a Baby Boomer with a Millennial and watch the magic. Providing a corporate culture open to all generations enhances productivity and thought leadership. Take the mentoring of Millennials seriously.
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Justin Zuniga is CareerPlug’s sales and marketing intern. He is a proud member of the millennial generation.