Recently there have been a spate of articles and blog posts highlighting that the workforce now contains 4 generations, Boomers, X-ers, Y's, and Millennials. I consider Gen Y and Millennial to be virtually interchangeable so lets just cut the number to three for the sake of our discussion. As I stated in my inaugural blog post, I foresee a workplace culture clash of epic proportions looming on the horizon. It is also interesting to note that since I did my first post on my other blog and Tweet that more people are starting to post on the topic of working with the Millennial generation. Maybe it is because I am looking for the information but I suspect the timing of Spring Graduation is the explanation. In any event One post in particular stood out to me. I applaud the authors intent of helping everyone understand the different generations, although I didn't agree with the connotation of describing how he had to "infiltrate" the Gen Y/Millennials. His choice of words got me thinking about how little older generations know about the youngest generation, even though one of the biggest complaints about them is how "transparent" they make themselves online. I mean, it isn't surprising since a lot of times you hear parents complain that they don't know how to "connect" with their children, but that same complaint has been made by parents since Egyptian times.
This got my train of thought flowing back into the workplace and what follows are 5 hard and fast facts about the Gen Y/Millennials.
1) Millennials know that they don't know everything, but they do know more than you think they do.
2) The old ways of workplace motivation don't work for them. Money matters, but they have seen how much it corrupts and they don't exactly want to get too close to that slippery slope.
3) Millennials love what money can buy so they do expect to be paid well. I know what you are thinking, you're think wait a second he just said money doesn't motivate, what gives? What gives is that once Millennials are in the workplace and happy with their salaries, if you want more from them don't just throw money at them, it won't work. They know what their effort is worth and they know what their extra effort is worth. See every article on work-life balance ever written for a better motivator for better ways to motivate or see also #4.
4) Millennials just want to be recognized. While undoubtedly they are victims of "everyone-gets-a-trophy" syndrome, companies should trip over themselves to give praise because it is FREE and everyone wants it, not just Millennials. Besides older generations, you raised them like that (I know, not my kid, but YES your kid got a trophy too...) so keep it up. However make sure it is genuine despite their assumed lack of "EQ" they know when someone is being fake.
5) Millennials are loyal, you just can't automatically expect it from them. According to what you read online Millennials have no interest in loyalty, they are job-hoppers and career changes just chasing money or title. While sure that may take place, I argue that if they feel the company will be loyal they too will be loyal. Remember that they have all witnessed how "corporate loyalty" screwed over their parents and they want no part of that.
In order to move forward in workplace interaction with Millennials everyone should know these 5 rules. I encourage everyone from every generation to comment and add to the list.