Are Millennials Really Ruining the Workforce?

There has been a lot of talk lately about self-absorbed, “selfie” obsessed Millennials and their impact on the workforce. But are they really as bad as they seem, or just misunderstood?

The first thing it is important to remember is that Millennials are hardly the first generation that has been greeted with hand-wringing and eye rolling. Hippie culture shocked the establishment, and the world kept turning. Industry survived. There is no reason to believe that things will be any different with this new generation.

So the question becomes, how do we bridge the gap between the acceptedway of doing business and the priorities of the incoming Millennials?

As with most leadership challenges, it comes down to understanding. By understanding what is important to Millennials, we can provide leadership that will help them adapt to and thrive in their positions. In order to implement this kind of leadership, it is important to keep in mind the following threethings that drive Millennials:

Drive #1 – The Quality of an Organization’s Work

Millennials are drawn to companies like Google and Amazon because of their emphasis on a customer focused, quality product. They want to believe that they are contributing to an excellent result and they put their money where their mouth is. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle of productivity where they feel a sense of satisfaction with their work which motivates them to give their best effort. You may not have control over your company’s overall mission or image, and you still have the opportunity to frame the assignments given to Millennials on your team. Emphasize the impact their work will have on your clients. Help them to understand how their involvement will provide a better experience for your customers. By providing a sense of pride in their contribution, you can tap into the major driving force behind millennial motivation.

Drive #2 – A Thirst for Learning

Millennials were born into a world that has seen some of the most fast paced change and development of technology since the Industrial Revolution; it only makes sense that they would be searching out opportunities to learn and grow along with it. Furthermore, they have had instant access to communication and information since birth. Of course they hate to be bored! They have had to quickly adjust to ever changing trends in technology and entertainment, and this innate ability can be a huge benefit to your business if you direct that quest for knowledge toward their professional development. Work with Millennials on their areas of interest to see what educational opportunities may exist to develop skills that will provided value to your team, and encourage them to take advantage of any training or research opportunities both in and out of the office. This will boost their confidence and challenge them to do more.

Drive #3 – Feeling Valued

Everyone likes to know that they are important, and Millennials are no different. In fact, they report that feeling that their leaders value their work has a significant impact on their job satisfaction. The key detail with this driver is the type of feedback that is appreciated. Millennials are looking for substantial and immediate response to their input. A pat on the back or a glowing annual review isn’t going to have the kind of impact that more consistent communication of appreciation will provide. The good news is, Drivers #1 and #2 feed directly into this desire. As you help Millennials to understand their impact and create educational goals, you will have the opportunity to let them know that you appreciate their dedication. The more you are able to challenge Millennials and allow them to meet those challenges, the easier it will be able to find honest opportunities to communicate their value to the team and the company as a whole.

As more and more Millennials join the workforce, it is hugely important that leaders understand how to integrate their seemingly disparate priorities into the goals of their teams. Understanding their drivers will allow leaders to motivate and guide them to success. What challenges have you faced when working with Millennials, and how have you handled them? We’d love for you to share your experiences. And if you would like more information on leading Millennials, contact us as