Millennials, a generation born roughly between the years of 1982 to 2000, are noted as being self-loathing, high maintenance, finicky, sarcastic, lazy, entitled, and downright narcissistic. It’s no wonder the generation is so despised! But now, millennials are everywhere. The oldest millennials hit mid-thirties while the Generation-Y millennials pile into the workforce. Millennials now make up more than a quarter of the American population. Here’s what you should know in order to make us an asset in the work force today.
1. We crave feedback and confirmation
Believe it or not, millennials actually care what you think . . . a lot! Not only do we want to know your opinion on our projects, we want to know constantly. Having to wait until the end of the quarter to hear how we are performing just won’t cut it. Millennials also value confirmation. Confirmation lets us know if we did a job well done. When you approve, we have a better understanding of what you expect. Maybe we are just high maintenance, or maybe it’s because we crave constant growth. We like to do things the right way. By doing so we can better ourselves and the value we provide to a company.
2. Details and rules, yes please
Yes, you read that correctly, rules preferred. Let me explain. We may like our work environment loose but we like rules when it comes to projects and tasks. Millennials are a generation of rubric followers. It goes back to our desire to do good work the first time around. When our projects and tasks are well instructed, we feel more comfortable and confident that we can complete them to perfection. Don’t worry; being strict on what you are asking for will not limit us. We will still find a way to go above and beyond.
3. We prefer a cross-functional work environment
A cross-functional work environment emphasizes different skill sets coming together. At work we want a team and a family, not a hierarchy. So often departments, or individuals, may be too narrow-minded. While focusing on making themselves look better, they may undermine the projects or growth of another. Millennials want to avoid this and grow together. If you work as a unit you grow as a unit. Not a selfish idea after all.
4. We want to be close with our bosses
This goes back to our preference for a family over hierarchy. We want to know our boss personally; some millennials even prefer to be friends with their boss. If we don’t know you, we cannot learn from you. A good relationship with a boss cultivates a comfortable mentor-like environment where the employee feels safe asking questions and learning. Our job is to make you look good, but we need you to show us how. Again, we want a close relationship; please don’t be behind the curtains like the wizard from the Wizard of Oz.
5. Don’t expect us to stick to the status quo
If you don’t want change, don’t hire a millennial. Millennials crave change and sometimes prefer it as opposed to stability. Every generation promotes change to the one before it. We are no different. We are innovators and problem solvers, constantly looking for a new way to fix an existing problem or make things run more efficiently. Expect us to want to shake things up; we too want to leave our mark.
6. We are purpose driven
Last, but certainly not least, millennials are purpose-driven. We are always in search of the why behind things. We have a deep desire to add value and find purpose in our work. We seek to be helpful and valued, to know that what we are doing will make a long-term positive impact. Create an environment that has values, is honest and purpose driven and we are sold!
Despite the negative propaganda being reported, when understood, and given the opportunity, we may really be as awesome as we think we are.