Business Of The Younger Generation
By Molly Meyer
Are you a Generation
X�er or a Boomer who just doesn�t like working with the Millennial
Generation? Understanding the younger generation is a must-do for
organizations these days. In just a few short years, they will be
the workforce majority. Therefore organizational leaders wanting to
learn how to sustain their business must learn how to capitalize on
millennial employees. And to do that, you must first understand the
By understanding my
generation (also known as Generation Y, born from early 1980s to
early 2000s) and why we are the way we are, you might not dislike
working with us so much. So here it is � straight from a millennial.
1. We are lazy � false.
While it�s true that maybe we�re uninterested in dressing business
professional and sitting in an office from 9 to 5, that doesn�t mean
we won�t put in the work. Ask us what we�re doing at 11pm, and you
might be surprised at the amount of typing, reading, coding and
brainstorming we do while you�re probably sleeping.
2. We feel entitled �
true and false.
We typically don�t feel entitled to a certain label or
responsibility, if we aren�t capable or interested in it. However,
we feel that we should be given a fair shot regardless of age. A
good idea is a good idea, no matter how young or old the person is
3. We think we are
superior � depends on what.
At searching the web? True. At writing code and understanding social
networks? Sometimes. At leading a Fortune 500 company? False. There
are things at which our generation is notably more competent, which
can be partially attributed to growing up alongside the dramatic
rise in technological innovations. And there are things we know we
aren�t yet competent at.
4. We want immediate
gratification � true.
Those of us growing up with the Internet at our fingertips have
become conditioned to expect the same. It�s not as horrendous as it
sounds, though, as we expect to get more work done in less time
because of it. (That�s productivity, after all).
We have grown up with
the constant reinforcement of �The sky�s the limit,� and �Be all
that you can be.� Well, we want to be happy, and happy for us (at
least for now) means a few common things. Here are some character
traits that tend to define us a bit better than those some of the
I want to make money, but I want to be valued.
We are definitely
motivated by dollar signs and bonus checks � at least to a degree.
If we have the opportunity to work for an organization that�s
flashing us a big pay day, there�s a good chance we will take it.
However if that same job treats us like we�re interns, undervalues
us as human beings, doesn�t think we can contribute, refuses to give
us responsibilities, or overlooks us because of our age, gender,
etc., then we�re probably not going to stick around very long.
Sure, we might cash in
on that big paycheck for a little while, but we will do so with the
utmost intention of (a) finding and securing another job, or (b)
becoming an entrepreneur and starting our own company. One that will
probably appeal to other millennials, too. Either way, your company
will hurt in the long run because we�ll become the competition. And
if you�re not retaining the millennials, you will be left without
the best and brightest of the next generation to take over when
I want flexibility.
We�ve spent much time
sitting in classrooms and reading textbooks learning about
revolutions, and have learned that there is always room for
improvement. After all, previous generations have taught us that. We
now want to continue to stand up for ourselves, this time for a
work/life balance and increasing the love we have for what we do.
We want the ability to
work from home, to finish that report on Sunday afternoon instead of
on Friday night, and to work in our casual clothes. We understand
that there are some jobs that just won�t work out, but there are
many that could give us some degree of flexibility in how and when
we prefer to work.
I want to give back.
Having grown up in
recent decades, news has pretty much always hit our ears in real
time. We�ve had more news thrown in our faces than any other
generation up to now, and much of that news has been bad �
shootings, oil spills, melting ice caps, terrorist attacks. Hearing
that stuff from the time we were children, affects a person. It
makes us want to sponsor the opposite of those things; we want to
give back by supporting the good.
Giving back can mean
making personal donations, but seeing as we are young (and thus have
relatively small personal financial portfolios), we like supporting
companies that do the donating for us. Think about all the
one-for-one companies out there (Tom�s Shoes is one example). We
like these brands because we champion the giveback mentality. Not
only are we supporting something good, but we get to show that
support for the cause by sporting the shoes amongst our peers.
Of course, our
generation is more dynamic than I can give us credit for in this
post. We cannot simply be summed up in a few traits, nor would I say
that these traits define all of my generation. But these are
certainly commonalities. This information is meant to be insightful,
enabling you to understand, reel in, and keep a few employees from
the Millennial Generation. And as a result, help you solidify the
future of your organization.
(Molly Meyer is the
creative director for a marketing agency. She is also a co-author of
Company Too!, which uncovers the dynamics, leadership, and
engagement of eight successful organizations.)