I have had the good fortune of spending time with my Millennial daughter and her friends in the course of the last few months. I enjoyed sitting back and listening, especially to controversial topics to see where they would take them. As I did this I thought of the countless complaints I’ve heard by business leaders that Millennials are self-absorbed, unmotivated internet addicts who don’t communicate well. And then I thought, is that really the case? Or is it that they live life differently and business leaders just aren’t tuned into them.
Here’s what I found out when I tuned in….
They care deeply about the world they live in and how they can affect it. This generation is plugged into what is happening around the world, not just their neighborhood. They have a righteousness about making the world a better place to live. They want to live and work in a more transparent society that is fueled by companies with a mission of goodness, not huge profits, and aim to make the world a better, cleaner, healthier place. Read more.
Take away: You might want to revisit your company mission.
Millennials are passionate.
They are fueled by their passion, often highly focused, not their college major or current career title. This generation wants a very different work life, lifestyle and behavior set than their parents, and certainly their grandparents. They see the status quo as ineffective, inefficient and limiting because they value their passions as their drivers, not society’s expectations. Read more.
Take away: Understand what’s important to your hires – create meaningful experience not just a job.
Millennials are informed.
They are connected to more information, real time, than the generations before. The internet has changed information distribution massively, and this generation mines it with expert precision. These folks get news immediately (sometimes before the media channels). They research facts and opinions quickly, and they rely on condensed content and the ability to search for it in multiple areas.
Take away: They won’t be fooled by glossy websites and fluffy job descriptions. They’ll research you first then let you sell them on the opportunity to work for you.
Millennials are determined.
Determined to follow their own path, not the one social norms have planned for them. We might see them as “head-strong” or “self-absorbed” but they see their opportunities as means to better themselves so they can make a difference and live a fulfilled life. They not satisfied with “take that job because it’s a job”. They know they can find an enriching experience if they keep searching for it (despite their parents’ nervousness about generating an income in the meantime!). Read more.
Take away: Show them how they’ll grow at your company.
As business leaders and employers we have to get out of our “box”, the one we’ve worked hard to build. We need to listen more to what is important to this generation because they will be leaders too. We should criticize less and learn to adapt (i.e. use technology the way they do) because we need to connect with them. We need to take a page out of their book and look at our business practices and behaviors to see if we really are making a difference or just maintaining the status quo.
There’s actually a lot we can learn from Millennials.