I'm a Millennial, and I know all the stereotypes. We're entitled and selfish. We live vicariously through our smartphones, in a world pixelated by Instagram and Snapchat, in a society governed by brunch and avocado toast.
I'm an employee, an entrepreneur, and an employer, and I know what makes our generation tick, and here's what I want every single employer to know about the Millennial population.
Millennials are Masters at Multi-Tasking
There's a reason so many Millennials crave 'flexible' work hours and hybrid, work-from-home schedules. Millennials think outside the proverbial 9-5pm, but that doesn't mean they aren't diligent in their work.
My Millennials employees know how to work hard. They are responsive and innovative, and yes, they're able to accomplish that with a smartphone in their hands. They know how to generate reports and master spreadsheets while glossing over Facebook. I know it because I see it happen every day.
Even if it seems like they're moving around quickly or changing their minds quickly, it's because they are in the business of working smarter and not harder.
It's archaic to assume that one person needs to do one task at a time. We are in an increasingly digital sphere, and if you expect your employees to be responsive to your needs, you need to be responsive to theirs.
Millennials Are Terrified of Financial Ruin
Avocado toast jokes aside, most Millennial employees and entrepreneurs are well-aware of the financial mishaps of their predecessors. They're laden with student loan debt (learn more on that here), often underemployed, and watched their families survive through 2008. They're in an era that's not kind to neither renting nor homeownership, and they may very well be the first generation to fare off worse than the generation before them.
That's a lot to handle.
And unlike the generations before them, Millennials aren't scared to talk about money. They need to know their pay- they need to advocate and ask questions about their salaries. If you're uncomfortable with that, it's an area you need to work on.
People need living wages, and it's not that Millennials aren't loyal to their employers. They're loyal to the people who respect their basic rights (and that does include their salary).
Millennials Want Feedback (Good and Bad)
Here's one positive thing about the participation trophy phenomenon. Millennials want praise and validation, and they are willing to put forth the work and effort to achieve just that.
However, they're also used to being in the limelight. With a pervasive social media presence, this generation understands the public eye. They understand damage control and how saying the wrong thing can lead to a lifetime of reputation branding.
It's your job as an employer to verbally provide that feedback. You need to tell your employees how they are doing on a regular basis. And, don't forget to validate, either. Nobody wants to work for a boss that's only pointing out the faults.
Millennials Can Seriously Network
Technology has its advantages, and networking is definitely one of them. Back in the day, people applied for jobs by walking directly through the front doors. Today, Millennials turn to online resumes and job boards to send in their resumes. They connect with people not just on a community level- but in a global sphere- active in everything from social media groups to group chats.
If you need to expand your business, your Millennial employees can help you achieve that goal (quickly and effectively). In a few thumb taps on a smartphone even.
As an employer, it's your job to make your company worth networking for. That means creating a creative, dynamic workplace that fosters teamwork and camaraderie. It also means creating an open door for support and growth.