The word “millennial” has become something of an insult. If you read today’s media, it seems millennials are selfish, feel entitled, are horrible workers, and lack gratitude for the sacrifices of prior generations.
And the media is getting it wrong.
Let’s get something straight, Millennials are no different than prior generations. The word is used to describe people born between the early 80’s to around 2000. That is it, a reference to a demographic group.
Everyone is in such a group. The World War II generation is often called the “Greatest Generation.” Their kids were the “Baby Boomers,” and their grandkids “Generation X.” And, at one time, those same baby boomers were called the “hippie generation” by their parents and grandparents. But these are only labels of groups, and while some sociologists do believe there are general characteristics of generations, they are only descriptions created from studies of large groups of people.
People are individuals, with their own beliefs, qualities, and ideas. And, these ideas are pretty similar to prior generations. In other words, as the old saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun. Don’t be fooled by the articles which stereotype people. Millennials are smart, motivated to work and work hard, for businesses they respect and believe in.
People Are People, No Matter Their Age
An article in Forbes about Millennials, revealed they have a lot of the same desires as their parents and grandparents. They want to work in a company culture where they feel challenged and appreciated for their work. They want a good family/work balance, and they actively seek constructive feedback. If there is one change, it is Millennials have a strong belief in entrepreneurship. They have learned that working for one company their entire career is probably not going to be an option for them.
Hire Based On What You See In A Candidate, Not What You Read In The Paper
Don’t jump to conclusions when you hire people, regardless of their age. Writers often cherry-pick observations from surveys and research projects and try to create a controversy based on a narrow assumption.
When you consider people for your company, look at the person. See them for who they are, not for their demographic. Your guides in deciding who you hire should be based on what they can bring to your company, how they will do in your company culture, and how they will contribute to your company’s future.
Professional Managers Do This Every Day
Learning to manage and work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds is something star managers do effectively. They look at the person and work on strengthening their positive traits, helping with deficiencies, and above all, motivation and purpose.
Company culture is something created at the top, but lived by everybody. It isn’t something everybody is used to, and most employees have to be taught company culture. When it comes to dealing with anybody, approach them as an individual, not as a member of a group. Keep in mind that while individual people make up groups, groups don’t define individual people.
At Equal Parts Consulting we work with many company’s experiencing the hiring and onboarding of millennials. We are experienced in all aspects of HR implementation and maintenance for many different businesses and industries. If you would like to discuss this topic, or any other HR topic further, contact us for a consultation.