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Myths About Millennials

Posted by Mike Boelter on July 16, 2014

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As Vice President of Goodwill TalentBridge, I’ve encountered employers across a variety of realms. From hospitals to schools, TalentBridge has had the privilege of providing staffing services in all of these areas. Naturally, staffing and recruiting has allowed us to interact with a variety of candidates as well. One such group of candidates that have gained a lot of attention over the last year, are Millennials. Some hiring managers fear them, while others embrace them.

Millennials_in_Workforce-smRegardless of your stance, it is clear that Millennials work, and should be managed, quite differently than, let’s say, Baby Boomers would. Below is an excerpt from an article by Susan Healthfield (Human Resources, About.com) that I have found particularly helpful when interacting with, and retaining, Millennials:

If you are like most business leaders, you've no doubt noticed a trend in the way employees behave in recent years. Most likely you consider it a negative trend - too much entitlement, not enough loyalty, no work ethic, only interested in them, and on and on.

To better understand who your Millennial employees are and what drives them to succeed, perhaps it's easiest to understand who they are not—you!

Millennials (born after 1980) are operating in this world with a completely different perspective. Their definitions of loyalty, time, and success are often different. However, they do recognize all of these concepts and value them in very important ways. Let's take a look at two of the pervasive myths about our youngest generation in the workforce

Myth: Younger generations of Millennials have no work ethic.

Reality: Millennials have a self-centered work ethic. This is not necessarily the negative that it may seem at first. Millennial employees are dedicated to completing their task well. They have not been raised in a way that demands them to look around and see what should be done next. Instead they ask "what is my job" and go about figuring the best, fastest way to complete that task. Then they consider themselves done. This is a key differentiator between your employees and yourself.

Understanding that being at the job isn't as important to Millennials as completing the assigned task also opens up new opportunities for motivation and reward.

Myth: Millennials don't want to put in the hours to get ahead.

Reality: Millennial employees are willing to put in the time to do the job, however they are uninterested in "face time." We view time as a currency. Baby Boomers tend to see time as something to invest, the younger generations view it as a valuable currency not to be wasted. These are the generations that demand work-life balance and paid time off. They want to get the job done, then put it behind them and enjoy life.

Boomer managers have a tendency to lose the interest of their Millennial employees by looking too far into the future. Millennials live in the time frame based on right now. As a result they are not interested in promotion plans for five years from now. They don't even want to know what will happen at the end of the summer. Life is uncertain.

Tell your employee that you have a plan. Take pains to ensure it is in a time frame short enough for them to envision. Be prepared to fulfill your promise because once fooled, the Millennial employee is forever jaded. Susan's complete article can be found here.

Working in the staffing industry for over 30 years, not only have I experienced differing work styles, I’ve noticed how companies’ overall staffing strategies have changed as well. As Susan M. Heathfield says, “Millennials live in the time frame based on right now. They are not interested in promotion plans for five years from now.” Millennials’ perspective makes them an ideal group for contract staffing needs.

Written by Mike Boelter

Mike brings over 30 years of experience in the staffing industry to his role, as Vice President of TalentBridge. Mike’s strong background in management, sales and development, combined with his established network, has allowed him to effectively introduce TalentBridge to area business and community leaders. Mike’s role in connecting our service offering with Goodwill’s Workforce Development mission has been the cornerstone in establishing TalentBridge as a talent acquisition partner of choice to many of the area’s leading employers. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mike attended St. Francis De Sales High School and St. Francis College where he received his degree.
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