Five Millennial Myths
Forget what you think you know about your Gen Y employees.
If you believe the conventional wisdom, everyone under the age of 30 is needy and narcissistic. They want the corner office and a company car, but they aren’t truly committed to their organization. They don’t take kindly to criticism, but can be easily won over with the next hot gadget.
Such stereotypes of millennials abound, and some may have a degree of truth. But as this massive cohort enters the workforce in increasing numbers, can companies afford to put their trust in these types of characterizations?
I’ve seen many corporate leaders and human resources departments twist themselves in knots trying to accommodate what media and marketers have told them are the preferences of this new generation of employees. They spend enormous sums on strategies to engage millennials — strategies such as corporate social responsibility initiatives, iPad giveaways, and workshops to help older managers better communicate with younger staff. Yet many organizations find that such efforts don’t improve retention.
For the past 12 years, I have studied the so-called generation gap through empirical research, and have found that stereotypes of millennials in the workplace are inconsistent at best and destructive at worst. As part of two initiatives at the Center for Creative Leadership, we have collected data using online surveys from more than 13,000 participants in for-profit, nonprofit, and government organizations. On the basis of those findings, I have identified five key myths that companies tend to subscribe to when it comes to their younger employees.
Myth #1: Millennials don’t want to be told what to do. Because they spent their childhood being told by their parents that everything they did was wonderful, millennials are difficult to manage.
Posted: 05/19/2013 12:24:00
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