Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are all the rage — literally. In the workplace, their attitudes, preferences and approach can be a source of frustration for their Gen X and Baby Boomer colleagues. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a method to their madness, as many of those negative perceptions are just that — perceptions. So let’s set the record straight on a couple of Millennial myths once and for all.
Myth: Millennials only care about the “cool” parts of office life.
Of course, Millennials enjoy perks like free coffee, catered breakfasts and summer Fridays at the office. But those aren’t the things that bring them to work every day. Learning and professional development programs are actually a deciding factor when picking a new job. In short, you’ll need more than great avocado toast to keep Millennials smiling.
Myth: Millennials are spoiled when it comes to money.
A number of Millennials graduated college during the Great Recession — the worst economic climate America had seen since the Great Depression — and many Millennials born in the 1980s will never recover from the financial hit they took during this time. The start to their careers was delayed, and once they finally managed to land that first post-college job, they were grossly underpaid. So they’re used to having to hustle a little harder to make ends meet. In fact, 43% of younger workers take on freelance or short-term contract work to supplement their full-time income.
Myth: Millennials think they know everything.
Because they’re used to having to work extra hard to get ahead, Millennials know it’ll take effort on their part to continue to advance in their careers. That’s probably why roughly 73% of them say they expect to need some additional training or education in order to move ahead.
Myth: Millennials want the adult version of the participation trophies they received as kids.
In the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, children’s sports organizations began handing out some sort of award or recognition to make everyone who participated “winners.” There’s a misguided belief that as adults, Millennials are expecting that same level of unearned validation from their employers. However, a study by IBM finds that Millennials don’t expect any more recognition from their boss than Gen X or Baby Boomer employees.
Myth: Millennials are addicted to technology.
Millennials grew up with the Internet, and came of age with social media and text messaging. Digital technology is certainly a big part of their lives, but it’s not their preferred method of professional communication. They actually prefer face-to-face contact for a number of work matters, including learning new skills. And, they also do a good job of separating work and personal online. 27% of Millennials say they never use their personal social handles for professional matters, while only 7% of Baby Boomers could say the same.
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