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4 Things You Probably Hate about Millennials and Why You’re Probably Wrong

Listen, the challenge of parenting, educating, training, mentoring, and guiding young people has been around for thousands of years. Consider this quote attributed to Socrates, almost 2,500 years ago:

 

Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

 

“But my millennials are so much more annoying than we ever were.” Got it.

 

Remember, millennials look nothing like the previous generations, and that’s why they annoy you. It’s a lack of understanding of and between different generations. The point is millennials are probably everything and nothing we say about them.

 

  1. Entitled, lazy, and won’t do what they’re told? In a poll of 5,000 workers by Jennifer Deal of the Center for Creative Leadership and Alec Levenson of the University of Southern California, 41% of millennials agreed that “employees should do what their manager tells them, even when they can’t see the reason for it,” compared with 30% of baby boomers and 30 percent of Gen Xers.

 

  1. Aren’t competitive? The Economist cites research by CEB, a consulting firm that polls 90,000 American employees each quarter, that 59% of millennials say competition is what gets them up in the morning much more than the percentage of baby boomers or Gen Xers that say that about competition.

 

  1. Only communicate digitally? That study by Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson showed that more than 90% of millennials surveyed want face-to-face feedback and career discussions.

 

  1. Jump ship and are not committed for the long term, or really any term? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker stays at a job 4.4 years, and yes, according to the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey of 1,189 employees and 150 managers, 91% of millennials expect to stay less than three. But beware of averages: Millennials may find it normal to job-hop faster than any previous generation, but when they find the right opportunity they actually are more loyal than the previous generation. The CEB study showed millennials put future career opportunity among their top five reasons for choosing a job, again ahead of other generations.

 

Simply put, when it comes to millennials, most of us have no idea what to believe or do. So we believe and assume the worst. Until we see this, the most powerful myths or assumptions that we have about millennials will continue to negatively impact our attitudes about, perceptions of, and relationships with them.

 

Get past the
 myths and realize that individual differences are more important than generational ones In the end, most millennials just want what we all should want: challenge, flexibility, purpose, engagement, collaboration, work-life balance, transparency, and authenticity.

 

They want bosses who care, set clear expectations, and are willing to coach—and who understand what they expect and need in the workplace. Are these things so unappealing or are they just not your story?

 

Don’t let generational differences be the problem. Lean in and consider millennials an opportunity to learn, connect, and kick more ass in your business using millennial power.

 

Need help getting started? For more on this, check out Busting Myth in Part Two of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY.

 

 

3 Things a 75-Year Harvard Survey of Adult Life Tells Us about Millennials Today

What’s the most important life/work skill?

 

When we ask people this question in our launchbox workshops, at our clients’ workplaces, in our extended professional networks, and at keynote presentations, the number one answer by far is “communication,” followed by listening, discipline, passion, and persistence. (My teenage son Matthew said “for­giveness,” so I asked him what he had done wrong.)

 

I’ll take all of that. But I want something deeper. I want more. Com­munication and all the other answers are important, but they are com­ponents of the number one life/work skill.

 

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

 

Everything—from money and knowledge to power and love—boils down to interacting with other people. Positive relationships lead to positive mindset and intent and are essential in business for morale, produc­tivity, innovation, loyalty . . . positive relationships lift all of these things and much more. Relationships are about connecting. It is easy to get information any time from your smartphone, but how are you connect­ing?

 

In business, connecting with other human beings creates much more than results: It leads to health, thoughtfulness, balance—and happiness.

 

This is not a hypothesis. Just watch Robert Waldinger’s TED talk, “What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness” (bit.ly/1PxtGLt). Waldinger is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which may be the longest study of adult life ever done. For seventy-five years, starting in 1938, the Harvard study tracked the lives of 724 men (about a third of them Harvard sophomores and the other two-thirds twelve- to sixteen-year-olds from inner-city Boston). As the men aged, the study asked them deep questions about their professional and personal lives.

 

And what did Waldinger say was the clearest message from this seventy-five-year study?

 

“Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”

 

Waldinger then laid out three lessons he learned about those relationships.

 

  1. Social connections are really good for us, and loneliness kills.

 

  1. People who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age fifty were the healthiest at age eighty.

 

  1. Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains.

 

In the end, Waldinger says, “Good, close relationships are good for our health and well-being, this is wisdom that’s as old as the hills. Why is this so hard to get and so easy to ignore? … Relationships are messy and they’re complicated and the hard work of tending to family and friends, it’s not sexy or glamorous. It’s also lifelong. It never ends.”

 

Exactly. So knowing this, what are you going to do to connect and create great relationships with your millennials in the workplace?

 

Need help answering this question and getting started? Let us help you stop chasing relevance and make it happen. For more on the power of relationships, check out Part One of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY.

 

 

 

 

2 Big Reasons Why Pokémon GO Struck Gold & Can Help You Understand Millennial Customers and Employees

Within 24 hours of release, Pokémon GO surged in popularity unlike anything the app store has seen before. In terms of time users spend on the app, it surpassed Snapchat, Twitter and even Facebook![1] If you’re unfamiliar with Pokémon GO, it’s an augmented-reality game that launched in the United States late last week. To break it down, the game lays a sort of semi-transparent Poké-world over your actual, physical location, which you can explore by literally walking around while staring at your screen.

The game has been all the hype over the past week, striking a chord in the millennial generation. Whether you are into gaming or not, you should pay attention. What they accomplished are hints to what your business might do to attract millennial customers.

 

Reason 1: Technology

Millennials were the first generation to grow up with technology being an influential part of their lives. Pokémon GO offers the best of both worlds: the joy of playing an addictive video game combined with the experience of interacting with others in the real world.

While technology has created a world where many millennials prefer to stay inside and immerse themselves alone in their screens, Pokémon GO has brought them together. Certain hotspots in the game attract more users, resulting in more physical, face-to-face interactions. The wild success in such a short time conveys that millennials do want to get out of the house and meet other people. By leveraging the inherent desire for human interaction along with a fun, addictive app, other companies can mimic this strategy to capture the attention of millennials. Forbes estimated that Pokémon GO is bringing in over $1.6 million in revenue per day in the United States alone.

 

Reason 2: First Brush with Millennial Nostalgia

Another reason this game has struck gold among generation Y is because it’s nostalgic. Pokémon became popular in the late 90’s, both on television and in video games (think back to the dinosaur age of Nintendo 64 and Gameboy.) The game has awakened positive, childhood memories among millennials. The familiarity of the app has proved to be a hit, and as the New York Times put it, “Millennial’s First Nostalgic Blast.” The game’s success has blazed a trail for other companies to leverage nostalgic games and memories of generation Y to create future products.

While it’s too early to tell if the game will plateau soon or become a “one hit wonder” for Niantic, the makers of the game, Pokémon GO has given businesses and marketers a look into the future of what millennials love.

The world is changing, as you can see from Pokémon GO, and those who understand and adapt to the interests and attention of millennials have a real opportunity to create  economic value and winning products and services.

 

 

[1] Lancaster, Luke. “Mobile Users Spent More Time on Pokemon Go than Facebook.” CNET. N.p., n.d. Web.

3 Ways to Fulfill and Retain Millennial Employees

Often tagged “the job hopping generation,” it’s a common myth that millennials are disloyal and don’t care about job security. With this viewpoint, why put in the time to train and develop your millennial workforce when they’re going to split in a year or two? From this perspective, it’s pointless. However, by understanding the concerns of millennials and looking at reality through their lens, a few important factors stand out that shatter this myth.

49% of millennials say they would like to stay with an organization for more than 10 years, according to research performed by the Center for Creative Leadership.[1] Many millennials actually crave job security. They grew up during the 2008 recession, witnessing devastating layoffs. They have the highest levels of student debt in history. They’re worried about raising kids or putting down a mortgage due to the possibility of being laid off.

By understanding the concerns of millennials, this job hopping “problem” can be turned into an “opportunity” to engage and fulfill employees for the long run. Here are three ways to help you fulfill and retain millennial employees:

  1. Constantly Communicate and Provide Feedback

Millennials grew up in the digital age of instant gratification and constant connection. Therefore, they’re used to receiving immediate feedback and having an outlet to tweet their opinion at the snap of their fingers. By maintaining relationships with millennials through regularly asking questions and making an effort to understand things from their perspective, feedback becomes conversational, as opposed to being confrontational. This creates an environment where millennials feel that their voice matters and that their opinion is valued.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that millennials want feedback; the problem is they won’t ask for it. Show appreciation regularly. When they make mistakes, let them know in a constructive, teachable manner. By making the effort to make millennials feel understood, valued and an integral part of your company, they will feel more comfortable speaking up. This relationship fosters loyalty and will help fulfill and retain your millennial employees.

2.) Display Advancement Opportunities

Millennials are young. They’re hungry. They’re ambitious. As a manger, you can help them see opportunities to advance and be promoted within the company. Likewise, you can offer lateral growth opportunities, allowing them to become skilled in a variety of fields. This will help your company develop a multi talented, capable millennial workforce that understands how different departments operate. This will breed understanding and insight into how to serve the best interests of your company.

From a retention standpoint, opportunity for growth causes a shift in the mindsets of millennial employees. By openly presenting advancement opportunities, millennials will naturally view their job and career over the long term. A secure, rewarding job with the possibility of advancing and learning new skills is a sure way to create long-term retention with millennial employees. Recognizing the importance of job security and growth opportunity will help attract a stable, loyal workforce.

3.) Allow for Balance and Flexibility

Lack of flexibility was cited among the top reasons millennials quit their jobs, according to surveys performed by Ernst and Young’s Global Generation Research.[2] Millennials see that technology allows them to be productive and get work done regardless of location. However, many older bosses (who didn’t grow up with digital technology) don’t understand this. Multiple surveys show that what millennials want most is where, when and how they work.[3]

By creating a flexible work environment, you can fulfill one of the highest demands of millennials. As long as a flexible, work-life balance doesn’t affect results, it should be embraced. Millennials are more likely to commit to a company long term if it allows for a flexible work-life balance.

Don’t be put off by the myth that millennials are a job-hopping, disloyal bunch. You can view your millennial workforce as a “problem to complain about” or an “opportunity to be embraced.” Through communication and feedback, openly presenting advancement opportunities, and creating a flexible and balanced work schedule, you can fulfill the wants and needs of your millennial workforce, while also creating an atmosphere where they will want to work over a long period of time.

Interested in learning more about bridging the gap between millennials and managers? Make sure to get your hands on Dan Negroni’s new book,  Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.

Chasing Relevance by Dan Negroni

 

[1] Deal, Jennifer. “Why the Conventional Wisdom About Job-Hopping Millennials Is Wrong.” WSJ. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., n.d. Web. 22 June 2016.

[2] Schulte, Brigid. “Millennials Want a Work-life Balance. Their Bosses Just Don’t Get Why.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 23 June 2016.

[3] Schulte, Brigid. “Millennials Want a Work-life Balance. Their Bosses Just Don’t Get Why.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 23 June 2016.