Myths and Realities About Millennials
by Scott Degraffenreid, Social Network Architect
What Are Millennials?
Millennials are the new generation of workers born after 1982. They have grown up with personal computers, cable, music videos, video games and now search engines as daily interfaces. This has created actual physical changes in the way their brains work, revealed by functional M.R.I.s.
Myths and Realities About Millennials
1. Millennials Are Slackers
Millennials are motivated by very different things than previous generations. Money and status are not their priorities, relationships and experiences are.
Trust and respect are the most important compensation they can receive, and they will work very hard if they believe they are appreciated and making a difference.
2. Millennials Are Lazy
Millennials work as hard or harder than anyone in return for what is important to them.
They instinctively try to find easier and faster ways to do things, winning at this is more important than “rules”.
Learning to capitalize on this can increase productivity as long as they have a clear understanding of the results desired and legitimate limits that make sense.
3. Millennials Are Disloyal
(They’ll Quit at the Drop of a Hat)
This generation has been trained by technology to punch reset/reboot when things are not working.
They don’t take a wait and see attitude if a job is unsatisfying or demeaning.
They believe it just makes sense to start over somewhere else.
If they do find what they are looking for and sense a relationship, they will commit to it 100%.
4. Millennials Are Not Competitive
They have not grown up with zero-sum games where in order for someone to win, someone else has to lose.
They are more interested in beating their own best game, so feedback and keeping score is important to them.
They can be highly motivated by team-oriented outcomes that allow them to collaborate instead of compete.
5. Millennials Are Hard to Train
Textbook and classroom training is tedious and generally ineffective with Millennials.
They prefer to learn “on the job” just as in playing a video game.
They learn quickly from mistakes and will test the “system” to see if it breaks. This is a process they use to find workarounds and hidden solutions.
Hence the term “Crash Test Geniuses”
6. Millennials Are Rebels, Always Resisting Authority and Rules
Previous generations expected to learn the rules before playing a game or sport. They expected those rules to stay the same throughout.
Millennials were raised on video and computer games where there are seldom written rules.
Moreover, they expect the rules to change frequently as the game progresses and for there to be ways to “buy” different rules with credits or experience.
7. Millennials Are Not Dependable
In most of their lives, everything has always been 24/7.
They are accustomed to having what they want, when they want it.
Getting them to show up on time and perform as expected is largely a matter of letting them know you understand and respect their priorities, but need them to respect yours.
8. Millennials Lack Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Because they maintain larger and closer social networks than previous generations, they have an abbreviated etiquette for communication.
While they may gloss over some niceties and are not known for superlative table manners, they have a genuine concern for other people.
9. Millennials Are Immature
(But They’ll Grow Out of It)
There is nothing for them to grow out of. Their brains are literally wired differently. They are adapted to high flux environments.
They have no resistance to change and little aversion to failure, as long as they learn something from it.
Understanding how they operate makes it possible to utilize their unprecedented skills, creativity and abilities in amazing ways.
10. Millennials Have Unreasonable Expectations About Compensation
This seems wrong if money and status are not their priorities, but they have been conditioned with the idea of a “living wage” and since most have grown up in homes with older parents with established careers, entry level expectations are higher for Millennials.
In addition, their role models of young career people from television and the media have a standard of living 200% or more higher than what that person would make in real life.
11. Millennials Have Grand Expectations for Promotions and Vacations
They hate the idea of seeing themselves as “drones”, so rules that imply that they must merely show up so many days a year doesn’t mesh with their perception of being a contributor and performer.
Having a low expectation of ongoing tenure going in, they will ask for more senior allotments of time off and expect faster promotions if they perform well.
12. Millennials Are Spoiled
It is true that they have a low threshold for abuse. They see no reason or need to deal with people who don’t treat them with appropriate respect and concern.
They also see no reason that they can’t have it all.
They are unwilling to sacrifice relationships for success.
They tend to put friends and family ahead of work. In their world, relationships tend to last longer than jobs and they focus accordingly.
Scott Degraffenreid is a Social Network Analyst who brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of business referrals, retention and recruiting. His work on employee attrition has been nationally recognized and his concept of tenure equity has been acknowledged as one of the most important new business metrics in a decade. He has developed over twenty new processes, measurements and tools for addressing employee productivity and Enterprise Performance Planning. His Talent Scout recruiting strategy generates more than 50% of all new hires for the businesses that have adopted it.
As a Behavioral Statistician and Social Network Analyst, he has participated in projects for over one hundred organizations with accountabilities ranging from survey research, database analysis and field studies to research design and statistical modeling of group behaviors. Scott’s ability to assimilate and grasp intricate organizational issues as they relate to corporate and market dynamics allows him to bring a unique mathematical perspective to complex environments.
Scott attended the University of Tulsa for a BS in Accounting. He has been a member of the American Statistical Association, The Society for Social Network Analysis, The American Association of Forensic Accountants and Mensa.
He can be contacted at Scott at N2Millennials.com
By phone 972-307-0021
This article may be reprinted with permission from N2Millennials, Inc. as long as you include the preceding information.
You can download a pdf file of of "Myths and Realities About Millennials" here.
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