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9 Myths About Millennials -- Busted

Posted by Patrick Ball on 4 Nov 2014

They're the tech-addicted "needy" kids with no work ethic, too many questions and grand plans for moving straight outta their parents' basements and into the C-suite. 

Or are they? Millennials can be good for company culture, if you give them a chance

Millennials -- the generation of young workers born between the early 1980s and 2000 -- have been magnets for negative stereotypes. These young professionals have developed a certain reputation, but how much of it is true -- and how much is actually beneficial to the modern workplace? 

Rather than blindly buying all the bad press, experts say hiring managers need to get past these perceptions to see the value in the young professionals who will become the next generation of leaders and can contribute to your company culture right away.

"Millennials already make up more than a third of the workforce," says Chris Duchene, vice president of Global Workforce Solutions at Care.com. "If America wants to remain competitive in business, then it has to figure out how to embrace this younger generation and its mindset, because Millennials are the key to success and will lead our companies into the future."

Here, Duchesne and other experts in multigenerational workplace issues, help explain and dispel some of the stereotypes surrounding today’s young professionals.

  1. They’re Entitled
    They might expect to be promoted, like yesterday. But have you heard why? It could have to do with who they idolize. Brad Karsh, author and president of JB Training Solutions, an employee development company, explains that today’s billionaires are in their 20s. “Zuckerberg had one good idea and he’s a billionaire. The world has changed -- you don’t have to pay your dues for 35 years to be extraordinary.”

    How this can work for your company: Millennials might be trying to think of the next big thing for your brand. Create a “Big Ideas” box or lunch sessions where everyone is invited to present improvements.”

  2. They’re Lazy and Unprofessional
    Actually, when Millennials are engaged, they’re energetic and determined workers. “Millennials play hard, and they work hard,” says Duchesne. But they’re young and they have a lot of workplace culture learning to do.

    How this can work for your company: Millennials aren’t constricted by office hours or even office walls. Young employees are often willing and able to work remotely and during off-hours as projects arise.

  3. They Won’t Stay at a Job
    Millennials have earned their rep as job hoppers, but we don’t have enough statistics on why. But we do know that they’re more comfortable taking risks on start-ups.

    How this can work for your company: When possible, let your employees take risks with new ideas and provide a platform for those who want to lead more innovative projects, to do so.

  4. They Need Constant Praise
    This one’s legit and comes from their parents explains Sheri Elliott-Yeary, a workplace consultant and author of “Ties to Tattoos.” “They grew up with their parents telling them everything they’ve done is wonderful.”

    How this can work for your company: More constructive criticism from managers could mean more great work. And Elliott-Yeary also advises managers to remove the desk between them when providing this feedback. “Pull up a chair and sit next to them. The desk is [seen as] a power trip, a barrier between you and them.”

  5. They Ask Too Many Questions
    To Millennials, feedback is an important learning tool; to Boomers and Gen Xers who are more prone to try to figure problems out themselves, feedback is something they’re uncomfortable giving , explains Lauren Stiller Rikleen, president of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership.

    How this can work for your company: When Millennials ask questions, it’s coming from a place of wanting to do the job correctly. Work with management to not see their questions as not being able to self-solve, but as being eager to learn.

  6. They’re Obsessed with Money
    Fact is, college graduates of the past several years are entering the workforce saddled with more student debt than anyone ever.

    How this can work for your company: Make sure you have a career growth plan so employees can see their future with your firm.

  7. They’re Addicted to Screens and Social Media
    It might be odd to see their Twitter feeds open all day, but this multi-tasking ability to be constantly gathering information, is actually a good thing.

    How this can work for your company: This is a booming industry for companies.Invite your social-mavens to weigh in on what else your social team can be doing. And keep in mind that they’re not just following friends, they’re looking for the latest industry news.

  8. They Care Only About Beer Carts and Yoga
    Not exactly -- but they do care about what those kind of work perks represent.

    How this can work for your company: A more engaging workplace can provide a more enjoyable day as well as office camaraderie for all employees.

    See 8 Benefits Companies Offer to Lure Top Talent

  9. They’re Too Reliant on Others
    Don’t confuse reliance on others for a love of collaboration, cautions Karsh who reminds that this generation grew up with group projects and a resume full of sports and clubs. “They crave working together to solve problems,” Karsh says.

    How this can work for your company: Create more opportunities for group work. “With this collaborative and supportive nature, Millennials are increasing camaraderie throughout departments, the company and even across the globe,” Karsh says.

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