October 15, 2015

Myths and Truths – How Millennials Will Shape Our Future at Work

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, were born after 1980 and are considered the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. Millennials are integral to the future of business, yet common misperceptions about this generation can impact business success. Part of the millennial myth is that they have a sense of entitlement and that they don’t want to work hard because they grew up drinking lattes, with technology at their fingertips and the mentality that “everyone’s a winner” regardless of actual performance. These perceptions of millennials are outdated.

In truth, today’s millennials are similar to other working generations in that they are goal-oriented, innovative high achievers  that represent the future of the workplace. The unique skills that they bring to the table - being technologically adept and easily adaptable to change – make them a valuable asset to any organization. Millennials also place a strong emphasis on finding work that’s personally fulfilling. Research shows that millennials are the most socially conscious generation since the 1960s, making their sense of purpose a key driver in job satisfaction. And, there’s proof.

A survey conducted by Great Place to Work included questions describing behaviors that drive innovation and found that companies that top Great Place to Work’s® 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials list scored an average of 14 percent higher than non-finalist companies. Given the right environment and support, millennials can propel companies to greater innovation.

Successfully Integrating the Millennial Workforce

How do employers adapt to this new wave of talent entering the workforce? The key is to understand and address their needs head on instead of adopting the “business as usual” approach. Millennials want to know that their workplace is invested in helping them advance and fulfill their purpose. When asked how their employer could demonstrate this investment, more millennial respondents chose training and development, feedback and coaching over cash incentives according to a study conducted by The Hartford.

At the core, millennials want a workplace that offers them the opportunity to connect to a larger purpose, fosters collaboration and allows them to maintain a sense of well-being at work and at home. And those lattes they love so much? A study by Mars Drinks revealed that millennials view coffee breaks as a part of work and collaboration, a way to connect with older  generations in the workplace. Something as simple as a cup of coffee can help bridge the generational divide and support millennials as they assimilate to the work environment. Connecting over coffee can inspire a sense of community belonging and personal empowerment for people at all levels of an organization, creating moments that give meaning and purpose beyond everyday tasks.