Needy and disloyal.
Just a few of the generational differences that are insanely overstated in the modern workforce. And it’s time we called bullshit.
It’s time we curb the compulsion to paint millennials (or any group we don’t understand) with one broad, viral brush.
There’s nothing “wrong” with millennials. Sure, they’ve been dealt a shitty hand.
- Are the most educated generation in history that’s on track to becoming less financially successful than the previous generation;
- Entered the workforce after 9/11 and before the great recession;
- Don’t even relate to the term millennial;
- Are sometimes vilified by the generation that wrote the book on all the worst parts of generational behaviour.
They’ve been moulded by the events of their upbringing. Isn’t that the same with every generation?
The millennials we’ve been fortunate to work with have been the exact opposite of every stereotype in the proverbial book.
- The first ones to donate to organizational charitable efforts;
- Most likely to support existing positive workplace cultural norms;
- Thoughtful and considerate and take on their fair share of the polis workload and then some;
- Informed and engaged about the world around them;
- Digitally gifted, but in many ways, a lot like their older colleagues;
- Less driven by and addicted to social media than the rest of us are.
They’re makin’ their way. Just like you and me.
Every generation craves recognition. That doesn’t make them needy. Every generation wants to untether from work construct that stifle autonomy, creativity and prosperity. That doesn’t make them entitled.
Yes, they want to live a balanced life. Yes, they want to make a difference at and for the place they work. Yes, they’re environmentally conscious. Who doesn’t want to spend more time doing the things that make them happy?
Instead of rushing to label the things we don’t understand, let’s try a different approach in the workplace.
It works (theoretically) for other politically and socially charged subjects we humans struggle with, like refugees, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or relating to anyone who has a different opinion or lifestyle than you do.
Leaders empathize before they categorize. Being afraid and judgemental because we don’t understand or personally struggle with change, is what causes most of the problems we face in our workplaces.
Data is great, but shouldn’t trump being human. Work on your relationships first. Label less and seek to understand more.
Listen. Communicate. Find common ground. That’s how we can better deal with and integrate every generation more successfully into the modern workplace.
Blaming young people for the ills of our society isn’t new, but it doesn’t need to continue.
Don’t close the box. Unpack it.
So the madness can end.