I continue to hear complaints from business owners about the younger “millennial” generation in the workplace. I find it comical. I really do. For a couple of reasons:
1) The “younger” generation has always been a problem in the workplace. Even the more senior/veteran generation in the current workplace was the problem in the workplace when they were the younger generation.
2) This “younger” millennial generation is currently leading some of the largest, most highly valued companies in the world, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and:
- Lyft found John Zimmer, 34
- Spotify founder Daniel Ek, 35
- Instagram founder, Mike Krieger, 32
- WordPress founder, Matthew Mullenweg, 34
Before you give me a hard time that it’s all men in that list, check out this list of 15 female millennial and Generation Z (the generation after the Millennials) entrepreneurs you haven’t heard of yet, but you may very soon.
3) A generation is a very long window of time, between 15-20 years. As I have posited to my audiences in seminars on this topic, “do you think an older Millennial at 35 years of age, has the same needs, desires, and interests as 21-year-old Millennial?” They all agree the answer is “no.”
My point is that there are good and bad people in every generation, there are wide variances in needs, desires, and interests across the timeline of people in each generation. It’s time to stop blasting an entire generation.
Do those in the Millennial generation and Generation Z have different attitudes, habits, work ethics, interests than those in the older generation? Absolutely!
Just like every younger generation always does. The key is to “seek to understand” what drives them, what interests them, how they like to work, and work with them, coach them, and help them lead your company into the future.
Some may remember that back in the 1950s and early 60s when the older generation was thinking Elvis Presley and the Beatles were undermining society?
More than 10-years ago I had a client who complained to me about the work ethic and the focus of his Gen X employees.
His complaint was that they weren’t motivated enough for advancement. They were too complacent and comfortable and only wanted to focus on their personal life and family. They weren’t ambitious enough for him.
Now, this generation, for some, is too ambitious. They have an entitlement mentality, think they know it all and should be advancing before they’re ready.
You can’t have it both ways.
And, I will argue you should want more of the latter and less of the former.
They’re easier to mold and coach to become what they want and what you may need. I say embrace that latter mentality and use it to your company’s advantage.
Every one of my clients has at least one young millennial who is a superstar at their company, pushing older generation folks to get better, faster, up to speed on technology.
I think that’s a good thing.
Maybe the problem isn’t the younger generation in the workforce but the older generation doing the hiring.
And, remember, if you’re still worried about the Millennial generation in the workplace, it’s too late. You better start learning about Generation Z, which is already starting to infiltrate the workplace.
‘til next time,
P.S. – The Brand New Your Championship Company Community Facebook Group is now 165 new members strong. Filled with like-minded business owners like you, discussing issues like the one above. Are you ready to join us? Go here to learn more and request to join.