Pew Research poses a great question with their quiz, “How Millennial Are You?” Answer a few short questions and you are quickly scored against others in your generation, as well as Gen Y, AKA the millennials born between 1977-1998. Not surprising to me, I was way out of kilter with my own generation and within 5 points of being a millennial.
I knew it! My “crazy” wonderful, “wouldn’t change a thing career” must indeed look like a millennial to anyone who isn’t one. While I often call out my record 8-year tenure in one place, I admit I do seem to have a quest for learning and change that has meant much shorter “millennial-like” moves.
Contrary to some reports, thinking like a millennial can be an awesome way to look at the world. After all, they are the generation that gets it when it comes to work-life balance and making a difference.
But, why would you want to work like a millennial, you ask? If you are managing any of the 75 million millennials entering the workplace, you already suspect your usual mode probably isn’t working. Whether you are managing or you are a colleague to the new workforce, adopting some millennial ideas can actually help you on the job.
Here’s another reason. Recently, I read a post which frankly seemed like a slap in the face to anyone who has been a long-term employee (hey, those are friends of mine!). While the author assured me that wasn’t the intent, the post argues against the HR hiring practice of using the “Experience Metric,” meaning years of service, as a way to weed out job candidates.
Obviously, I may not be the best one to say if that is a valid argument but the statement made was, “Ask yourself, would you rather have a highly motivated professional who has been in a role for 7 years or someone who has floated by in a role for 15 or 20 years?” Hmpf! Double hmpf! I doubt I could count on one hand anyone who is still employed who has floated by for any length of time in the last decade.
So, okay, it riled me up. But I am wise enough to learn from that. Just as I argued that his line delivers a perception of a career employee that I don’t agree with, the author agreed, “perception is reality.” And while I hope people recognize that there are plenty of “millennials-at-heart” like myself, I know that his implied perception is reality, too.
So help me out here. If you are not a millennial, please show the world that you do keep up with the latest (whatever that means in your career) and therefore can still be a valuable team player with the best of the millennials. Heck, you might even learn from each other! And for gosh sakes, make sure you are not simply taking up space at the office! Not that I think you are, but there’s that durn perception thing again. Take the Pew Research quiz. Then make sure you adopt at least these 3 great things about the millennial generation:
- Expect your employer to make a positive difference in the world.
A 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study found that 87% of millennials consider a company’s commitment to social and environmental causes when deciding where to work. Join the push to be involved, give back and help your company be socially responsible.
- Help deliver work-life balance.
Don’t put off the social side of life, or business. To millennials, planning too far ahead is fruitless. They will work just as hard to complete the job at-hand, but don’t expect them to work overtime to do it. (Boy, did I ever get that one all wrong!) What a ripple effect that mindset will have on the job in coming years!
- Get faster about multi-tasking and mobility.
Millennials communicate in ways that just aren’t “natural” to other generations. (Didn’t your Mother say the same? Just sayin’) Think You-Tube and mobile. Get to the point in 30 seconds or less. The millennials’ constantly connected way of life makes them especially fast multi-taskers. You have to adopt their channels to keep up. Start by knowing and using social media. Hint: If you think being on Facebook is all that – they have moved on. Say hello to Instagram and Kik.
Want to know more about managing millennials? Check out the great tips on businessknowhow.com. Wondering how to apply the best of the millennial approach to your communications or social responsibility planning? Check out my company website at www.csrtransformations.com.
- College-educated Millennials seek a work-life balance, study says (lifeinc.today.com)
- 15 Stats Brands Should Know About Millennials (digiday.com)