Why are Millennials so…
Narcissistic. Entitled. Distracted. Lazy. Most people who know me wouldn’t use those words to describe me (but they would likely say I’m obsessed with food). However, they are words often used to describe my fellow generation of Millennials (surprise! I’m as young as I look). Nearly every time I visit LinkedIn, I come across an article declaring why you should fear Millennials in the workplace or an infographic displaying what horrible people we are compared to Baby Boomers.
Lucky for me, Lynda Patterson, president/owner of AMPED, has recognized all of the great things about Millennials. Really—go take a look at how fresh-faced we are (please don’t guess which one of us are really Millennials and which ones have just discovered the fountain of youth). Here is the gist of actual conversation between Lynda and me after she returned from a conference with other AMC owners:
Lynda: You are a Millennial, right?
Lynda: Shouldn’t I be scared of you?
Lynda: I didn’t think so. I just got back from hearing other executives gripe about how Millennials are so difficult to work with and I couldn’t understand what they were talking about!
Let’s go over a few reasons why you should take a page from the AMPED playbook and not be afraid of Millennials as employees and colleagues:
We are smart …
Do I sound narcissistic? Yes. But it’s true! According to a study by the Pew Research Center, Millennials are the “best educated group of young adults in US history”—1/3 of us have earned at least a four-year college degree. We also started school right as tuition rates exploded, which likely means we actually want to learn. Why else would we take on an average of $30,000 in debt?
… and want to continue to learn.
Some Millennials may be freshly out of college, but learning is still our top priority. A survey from the UNC Kenan-Flager Business School for Forbes revealed that 65% of Millennials rank personal development as the most influential factor in our current jobs and 22% see training and development as the most valued benefit. In an EdAssist study of Millennials, 60% would pick a job with the potential for continued professional development over one with promised pay raises. The same study revealed that Millennials will stay at a company longer for access to learning. At AMPED, we are encouraged to pursue higher education and are even reimbursed for courses related to our jobs.
We are efficient …
We may be “technology obsessed,” but it has made us pretty darn efficient. If we expect everything to be on-demand, we better be on-demand ourselves. Our tech-savviness allows us to focus on the big picture and not get hung up on the technical details of a task. But we don’t always need to rely on technology! Part of the reason we prefer face-to-face meetings over a phone call or email is because a) we are collaborative and b) face-to-face is so much more efficient! There’s no need to go back-and-forth fifty times over email; let’s just get together and get stuff done!
… and great at multitasking.
Okay, fine. Apparently multitasking isn’t really a thing. We are “serial taskers,” our brains can quickly switch from task-to-task (sounds pretty efficient to me). This especially comes in handy when working in an environment such as an AMC, doing various tasks for several different client associations and needing to “flip the switch” as soon as a phone call comes in for a different client.
The next time you come across the typical “Millennials are scary!” article, keep in mind that we aren’t that bad. We also brought you Snapchat, Facebook, Airbnb, and Groupon.
Great job Emily!
I agree, there lots of misperceptions about millennials. Here are a few thoughts I researched then shared at WSAE's Innovation Summit, in full support of your article:
Check your expectations about millennials at the door.
o When you get frustrated with perceptions about millennials, resist the urge to look at things generationally. Every generation looks down its nose at the new one.
o According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Millennials have a higher rate of volunteering than the national average.
o Millennials are an empowered generation. They want to volunteer. They want to make a difference. They want to be heard. They’ve been raised that way.
2. Are you certain Millennials have no work ethic?
o Their work ethic is different. Not worse or better than other generations’. For them, work can be done any time They’ve never NOT had VPN and ubiquitous WiFi
o Work ethic has nothing to do when you work. Work is often done outside of the traditional 8-5 day
3. Don’t assume all Millennials are ‘new school’
o 53% of them still want printed program books at your conference.
o They might like the Beatles or KISS as much as they like Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran (insert modern artist here)
o According to a study by 2014 Study they hold printed material just as important as digital content
o Like many of us, Millennials want a choice in how they consume education some prefer print for their educational professional material – books, textbooks, journals, magazine. 53% of them still want printed program books at your conference.