In Defense of Millennials in the Workforce
Last week we published a blog post on our website and across our various social media patterns called “Three Tips for Hiring Millennials to Your Team.” We were rather taken aback at some of the responses — lots of people automatically dismissed millennials as being “lazy,” needing to be “coddled,” being “unprofessional” and more.
Of course, this attitude toward the younger generation is nothing new. Baby boomers can probably think back to a time when they were just coming of age and were disrespected by their parents’ generation as well. The classic song “Signs” by Five Man Electrical Band instantly comes to mind as a great portrayal of this.
But the truth is, any company that overlooks millennials in the hiring process is dooming itself to failure.
Today, millennials are entering the workforce in huge numbers, which can understandably be a somewhat frightening thing to people who have
worked in their industry for decades. What’s more noteworthy is not the sheer number of millennials that are entering the workforce, but the characteristics that are common among this generation, such as:
• Highly advanced networkers. This is a generation that has grown up with the internet and with social media, and has its finger on the pulse of technology and networking trends. They are easily able to see through marketing speak on social media, which means they also understand how to use social media networks to market more naturally without turning off potential customers.
• Vision-centric. More than any generation that came before them, millennials care about doing work that they believe makes a difference, and they will be picky about the kinds of jobs that they take on. While one might say that it doesn’t make sense to be picky about jobs in this economy, consider this: millennials know that they’re likely never going to have the kind of retirement packages and benefits that previous generations did. So if they’re going to have to work long into their senior years, they’re going to make sure it’s in a job that has a clear mission and vision.
• A value of flexibility. While previous generations were attracted to jobs by more tangible perks and benefits, millennials highly value flexibility in the workplace. They want a career that allows them to lead the life they want to lead, including traveling, activities and more. They want to have some freedom to set their schedules, work remotely and more. Again, this comes down to millennials wanting to work to live, rather than the other way around.
Essentially, millennials’ ideal form of work is one that gives them a platform to allow themselves to add meaning to the world, while still being able to live their own life.
It isn’t “coddling” to say that we should adjust our hiring processes and the way we do business with millennials. A great leader knows how all of his or her employees are motivated, and understands that processes need to change as new generations with new ideals come to the forefront.
Speaking of leadership, remember millenials, that one of you must step to the forefront and manage performance and profits that appease your stakeholders. As my dear friend Joe Wojtal put it, “Where there's room for accommodation, companies will be flexible. The question will be whether this group will grow into the business leaders that have to balance profits with personal interests. Someone has to keep the lights on!”
What it comes down to is this: adapt, or get left behind.
Copyright 2015 Viral Solutions LLC
by Thomas von Ahn | Chief Elephant Slayer
Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner, Infusionsoft Certified Consultant and a Mobit Certified Partner. We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves – so business can be fun again.