A New Understanding of Generational Differences: Millennials

By Jillian Fehrenbach on Nov 15, 2016 in Employee Loyalty, Team Engagement

It’s hard to pick up any type of publication these days without seeing something about Millennials and the impact they’re having on society. We decided it was time to get to the bottom of this issue, so at our recent VIKTOR Experience, we presented a session on this very topic. Here are a few of the facts that were vetted out during that interactive executive discussion:

The younger generation has always been accused of being lazy, unreliable, and self-interested. Take the following quote for instance: “In spite of optimism, philanthropy, and youth conferences, this is one hell of a world for kids to be trying to grow up in!” Want to venture a guess as to when it was written? How about 1945, in a Time magazine article about the “Lost Generation” of the day.

There are many stereotypes attributed to Millennials. Here are just a few of them:

  • They possess a sense of entitlement
  • They want a trophy for showing up
  • They’re easily side-tracked by technology
  • They’re job-hoppers
  • They want special treatment

But, what are the facts about this generation? Experts agree on the following four things:

  • They are the most racially diverse generation
  • They are the first generation born into a digitally connected world
  • They are more in debt and more likely to be unemployed, or underemployed, than Gen Xers or Boomers were when they were in the same age category
  • They are more likely to be “highly parented” than other cohorts at work (especially compared to Gen Xers

So, what’s the best way to approach a Millennial? Number one, don’t call them a Millennial!  Treat them like you would anyone else, as an individual. No one wants to be treated as a stereotype, or lumped into a group that doesn’t share all their values. Get to know them, and learn what motivates them. It’s never a good idea to make assumptions about anyone or anything, and that holds true with this generation.

If you’d like to read in-depth about this topic, check out the White Paper on our website: Generations in the Workforce