Millennials are currently the largest generation in the US labor force, accounting for more than one in every three workers. As more and more of these workers have joined the workforce, we’ve all heard a wide range of claims about who they are and what they want. Many of the stereotypes surrounding millennials accuse them of being subpar employees and bad hires. Millennials are commonly perceived as selfish, entitled, and demanding.
Is this an accurate view of the millennial generation? It may describe some young workers, but it is absolutely not true for all of them.
Believing these stereotypes about millennials can be detrimental not only to millennials themselves, but also to the organizations that need to hire them. In order to make great hires and build strong teams that drive company success, employers need to understand the truth about millennials at work.
Millennials Are Motivated
Motivation is a quality any employer would appreciate in their workers, and millennials have it in spades. In fact, sixty-five percent of millennials consider personal development opportunities the most important factor in choosing a job. Millennials are not just looking for paychecks — they’re looking for roles where they can grow and improve with each project.
According to PwC, 72 percent of employees under 30 want feedback on a daily or weekly basis. Millennials desire this feedback because it helps them continuously improve their work and correct any mistakes they’ve made in real time.
While you may think millennials are just looking for a quick pat on the back for reassurance, this is not typically the case. Millennials don’t just want positive feedback — they want constructive criticism, too. In one survey, 92 percent of respondents agreed that “negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.” Yes, those respondents included millennials.
Millennials Are Optimistic
While millennials have the highest level of student loan debt of all generations, they are still optimistic about their futures. More than 80 percent say they “have enough money to lead the lives they want or expect to in the future,” according to Pew Research Center. This optimistic attitude millennials have about their money is often reflected in the workplace when millennials and their teams are facing adversity. The positive energy millennials often bring to challenging situations can help everyone get through even the toughest of times.
Millennials Are Purposeful
Contrary to what some believe, most millennials aren’t mercenaries just looking for more money. What they’re really looking for is positive, purposeful, diverse cultures that strive to achieve some greater impact beyond financial success. Millennials want transparency into the larger visions of their employers, because that helps them see how their work contributes not only to their own personal goals but also to the company’s goals.
Like other generations, millennials are subject to a set of inaccurate stereotypes about their workplace attitudes. It is important to remember these are only stereotypes — not accurate representations of how millennials behave at work.
In fact, millennials are committed, motivated, passionate professionals who want to work with organizations that give them purpose. Rather than believing the hype, why not hire some millennials and see for yourself?
A version of this article originally appeared on the IQTalent Partners blog.
Chris Murdock is the cofounder and senior partner of IQTalent Partners.