They’re lazy, entitled, disloyal and narcissistic. Oh, and they can’t interact face to face. Millennials are tired of the derogatory stereotyping. And no, they don’t want a trophy just for showing up.
“They will be the most high-maintenance workforce in the history of the world, but they may also be the most high-performing,” says Bruce Tulgan, author of It’s Okay to Manage Your Boss, who also believes the negative stereotypes can be turned into positive attributes and be leveraged – if understood well.
Google has been named the No. 1 place to work for the eighth time in 11 years on Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Twelve other companies have made the cut every year. These powerhouses stand out because they engage this Y-generation.
Here’s how they do it.
- Growth Opportunities: Millennials embrace a strong entrepreneurial mindset and are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to grow. While it is true that the average tenure of millennial employees is a fleeting two years period (in comparison to five years for Gen X and seven for Baby Boomers), roadblock to career and personal growth is a decisive factor in a Millennial’s decision to change As digital natives, they grew up in a fast-paced environment where vast amounts of information are accessed in a swipe, and they aren’t about to slow down. Employers should challenge their Gen Y workforce and provide positive reinforcement to keep them going. The generation that was coddled by their parents also wants to see their bosses invested in their personal growth.
“They will be the most high maintenance workforce in the history of the world”
- Coaches not bosses! They want to work with you, not for you. While their cynical grand-parents lament the fact that smartphones are simply extensions of their arms, Millennials are, in fact, predisposed to networking and socializing with an eclectic mix of diverse people. They are the most inclusive and collaborative generation to date. Companies should capitalize on their affinity for networking by encouraging team-work. Contrary to previous generations, millennials firmly believe groups accomplish more. Their Can-do attitude feeds off frequent, constructive feedback. Managers should view themselves as coaches who can provide guidance and a framework within which millennials
- Balance and Fairness: Millennials are disrupting the status quo: the shift toward a democratic participatory economy and consumer equality is spilling into the workplace, impacting office life, work culture and company morale. Millennials seek jobs that offer the best perks and benefits (which they value more than money by the way). A flexible work schedule (meaning less commute time, and the ability to work from a beach in Positano, provided there’s Wi-Fi) is not about Millennials’ so-called laziness. On the contrary, they measure their performance on output rather than time spent. Sitting around the office until 5, “pretending” simply does not cut it. These multitaskers enjoy balancing work, friends, exercise (they are big on that) and travel, to which they are committed.
Once employers recognize and understand where Millennials are coming from and their perceptions of office life, bosses-turned-coaches can leverage their huge potential to change the way their companies work.