#159. What We Know About the Millennials – Part III

Posted on | The Agurban
What We Know About the Millennials – Part III

Why They Are As They Are

Growing up, Millennials were bombarded with a unique set of consistent and compelling messages- many of them so imbedded in the culture that adults, let alone children, were barely even aware of them. The era had its own mood that pervaded the developing perspective of youth. These messages had a profound effect on the generation as a whole:

  • Be smart-you are special. They’ve been catered to since they were tiny. Think Nickolodeon, Baby Gap, and Sports Illustrated for Kids.
  • Leave no one behind. They were taught to be inclusive and tolerant of other races, religions, and sexual orientations.
  • Connect 24/7. They learned to be interdependent-on family, friends, and teachers. More Millennials say they can live without the television than the computer. Many prefer chatting on line to talking on the phone.
  • Achieve now! Some parents hired private agents to line up the right college; others got started choosing the right pre-school while the child was still in the womb.
  • Serve your community. Fifty percent of high school students reported volunteering in their communities, many of their high schools requiring community service hours for graduation. On one Roper Survey, when Millennials were asked for the major cause of problems in the U.S., they answered selfishness.

Millennial Characteristics

All of this translates into a generation of employees with a different work ethic than any other, certainly different from their Gen X colleagues. Here are the main components of their work ethic:

  • Confident. Raised by parents believing in the importance of self-esteem, they characteristically consider themselves ready to overcome challenges and leap tall buildings. Managers who believe in “paying your dues” and coworkers who don’t think opinions are worth listening to unless they come from someone with a prerequisite number of years on the resume find this can-do attitude unsettling.
  • Hopeful. They’re described as optimistic yet practical. They believe in the future and their role in it. They’ve read about businesses with basketball courts, stockrooms stocked with beer for employers, and companies that pay your way through school. They expect a workplace that is challenging, collaborative, creative, fun, and financially rewarding.
  • Goal- and achievement-oriented. Just a day after she won a totally unexpected Olympic gold medal, skater Sara Hughes was talking about her next goal-scoring a perfect 1600 on her SATs. Many Millennials arrive at their first day of work with personal goals on paper.
  • Civic-minded. They were taught to think in terms of the greater good. They have a high rate of volunteerism. They expect companies to contribute to their communities-and to operate in ways that create a sustainable environment.
  • Inclusive. Millennials are used to being organized in teams-and to making certain no one is left behind. They expect to earn a living in a workplace that is fair to all, where diversity is the norm-and they’ll use their collective power if they feel someone is treated unfairly.

We will conclude our series next week with ways of how employers can attract and retain these Millennials.

Source: Connecting Generations: The Sourcebook by Claire Raines