By now, we’ve all heard about the many ways in which millennials have changed the workforce over the past few years – and we’ve all heard about how our companies need to mold expectations and modify the way we do business if we want to attract and retain millennials.
In fact, we’ve heard it all so much that most of us are probably rolling our eyes right now.
At least, that’s how I feel. I’ve read it all – the rumors that the only way to attract millennials is by offering free beer at the end of the day, or that they’re obsessed with finding the best filters on Instagram instead of getting their work done.
These over-the-top accusations have given millennials a bad name. It is clear that millennials do things differently from what we’ve seen in the past, but that isn’t always a bad thing.
Working with millennials may be challenging for some employers, but there is a lot that managers and leaders can learn from them as well. There isn’t as big a disconnect between millennials and previous generations as people tend to think.
I may be a little biased, being a millennial myself, but I do believe it’s important to address the millennial madness that’s been haunting the recruiting and HR world for the past few years. That’s why I’d like to spend some time surveying the characteristics that many millennials posses in order to help employers get past the hype and really understand this generation.
Millennials Are Motivated
They want to always be moving forward in their careers and in life in general. When that isn’t happening, they get bored. They’ll stop to celebrate their achievements, but soon after, they’ll start looking around for the next accomplishment. In the workplace, this tenacity can lead to some pretty great business outcomes.
Millennials Work Hard and Play Hard
Millennials are motivated by the fact that, once 5 PM hits, the night is theirs. Once the workday is done, it’s time to wind down and take advantage of their free time – but not until they’ve produced some high-quality, top-notch work.
Flexibility Is Key for Millennials
Millennials want to work in relaxed environments that allow them to focus on the task at hand. They love having the ability to work from home or on comfortable couches at the office.
But that doesn’t change their work ethics or expectations about what they should be doing at work. As millennial marketing consultant Jeff Fromm writes for Forbes, “Millennial employees are happy to work long hours on the projects that require additional time[;] however, they do not want to sit around the office until 5 PM if their work was completed two hours earlier.”
Millennials put in the time and get their work down efficiently, and they appreciate the freedom to work comfortably while they do so.
Millennials Are Resourceful
Millennials like to self-teach and self-manager. If they are confused about something or stuck on an issue, they will take the time to figure it out on their own. If there is a way, they’ll find it.
For millennials, getting creative is half the fun. As blogger Shelby Doherty explains, the assets of millennial employees include “[g]ood at research and metrics, technologically savvy, positive attitude, ability to multitask, gets things done quickly, consumer mentality, goal-oriented.” They will find the answer and create impactful solutions to any issues that come their way.
Placing multiple generations together in one workplace can be good for a company – and good for the employees themselves. But employers can only leverage these benefits if the generations ditch their preconceived notions about one another. That goes for both the preconceived notions that older generations have about millennials and the preconceived motions that millennials have about older generations.
Ultimately, if there’s one thing you need to know about millennials in the workplace, it’s this: The real key to their hearts is letting dogs come to the office regularly.
(Okay – that part is definitely just my biased opinion.)