Millennials represent a different segment of the workforce. By 2020 Millennials will make up over a third of the global force. That sounds like a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.
Ok, I must admit: I am a Millennial too. And maybe when I decided to write about this topic, I was trying to find out how I could make myself understood and how to better integrate into my team. I think Millennials, including myself, have our own way of getting work done. However, it is often not understood what's the best way to collaborate with us in a team.
First, the term Millennial, also known as Generation Y, refers to those born between 1982 and 1996. Millennials represent the largest age group since the baby boom generation.
Second, with regards to their generation characteristics, Millennials shouldn’t be judged by the stereotypes that float around this generation. There are different views which point to Millennials’ character traits. While some say they’re full of ideas, innovative, young, entrepreneurial, others claim that working with Millennials is quite difficult, because they are stubborn, lazy and not really loyal.
According to the research “Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision”, conducted by ManpowerGroup, “Millennials work as hard, if not harder than other generations, and are optimistic about their careers. They prioritise money, people and purpose. With career ultramarathons ahead, Millennials are focused on developing their skills to ensure their employment security and build a ‘career for me’.”
12 Tips on How to Work with Millennials- Coming from a Millennial
- Millennials want to make a difference and they need a real motivation to work hard for the company. Especially because they like to do good and they’re passionate about contributing back to society.
- Show appreciation for their work and give them the chance to get a promotion, if they deserve it when you’re in a leadership position.
- They have a can-do attitude so don’t cut off their wings and creativity. Don’t turn them down immediately when they come to you with a project proposal just because it doesn’t seem to bring some direct revenue to your company.
- Challenge them! Although Millennials are regarded as lazy people, the Manpower report found that they’re actually working as much or even harder than other generations. Surprising data shows that seventy-three percent work more than 40 hours a week. Their work-life balance is not ideal, as some even have two or more paid jobs.
- They seek leadership from more experienced co-workers, so sharing a bit of your knowledge won’t take too much time and effort.
- Millennials enjoy diverse activities! They should be provided the flexibility they need, because they’re 100% devoted to their work. Some are even open to the idea of multiple careers and jobs. They’re already aware that they’ re going to have to work longer than previous generations. And for some the horizon is really pessimistic, as the ManpowerGroup study says, twelve percent of the interviewed Millennials, globally, believe they’re going to work till they’ll die.
- They have confidence in their colleagues and mentors, so they’ re interested in receiving effective feedback from their colleagues. They like to have their performance evaluated and guidance on how to improve their work.
- If you’re not found of networking, make use of your millennial colleague to connect you with some potential partners. You could even let them be on charge of the team activities. They have a tendency to be open and a burning desire for social interaction.
- They ‘re fun oriented and they do things differently. So when your Millennial colleague suggests you to change your office appointment into an outside walk discussion, just go for it!
- Millennials have strong opinions, but so do you! Be clear in your communication, define what your expectations are. The best way to have a constructive bidirectional conversation is that both of you share your argued opinions. And if you can’t reach a common point, then don’t forget to agree to disagree.
- They’re dedicated to life long learning. According to the study “Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision”, Millennials are more interested in developing their individual skills (such as technical, interpersonal and IT skills) than learning how to manage others. Sixty-eight percent of the interview people aspire to gain individual skills, out of which twenty-one percent are interested in developing their personal, teamwork and communication skills. Thus, it seems that Millennials understand the relation between good working relationships and achieving work performance.
- Last but not least, Millennials are skilled in technology and able to multi-task. They might have their eyes glued on their smartphone’s screens, but that’s part of their approach to work, in-tune with technology and the online culture.
I hope that these tips will be useful for those who struggle with the behaviour of their teammates. As for Millennials, encouragement comes from Japie Stoppelenburg, a Millennial designer himself, who tells his story in “You’re a Legend and Everyone Else Sucks’’. Written on a hilarious tone, the book presents the adventurous and controversial life of Millennials from Japie’s perspective, hoping to inspire other youngsters not to be afraid to take the bull by the horns and make use of their unique qualities to the max.
And for you and your colleagues, don’t forget there’s a lot of pressure on Millennials and as Japie highlights, “expectations for us are high, since we are the generation that had the internet, relative world peace and technology handed to us. We are the generation that grew up on ‘You’re special’ and ‘Follow your dreams’.”
If you want to better understand the behaviour of your Millennial colleagues and what drives them, try to play the WeQ game and see how the level of empathy and understanding of the team will grow.