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The Great Millennial Debate

Real Type

November 3, 2016

download-4.jpegMillennials. Even the word seems controversial and evokes an opinion.

Millennials are defined as being born between 1980 and the mid-1990’s, and if you haven’t heard, their work ethic, or lack thereof, is a topic for debate.

On one hand, this generation is described as passionate, tech-savvy and innovative, and on the other, they are described as fickle, unprofessional and entitled.

How should companies lead millennials?

Millennials represent the largest percentage of the current Canadian workforce, and by 2020 some predict that 40% of the workforce as a whole will be comprised of contractors and freelancers. Millennials have been described as having different priorities, and want to find a job that satisfies more than financial obligations, noting everything from their passions and talent as considerations when making career decisions.

Instead of spending time trying to figure out WHY millennials walk, talk and act this way, employers who determine WHAT motivates them will be successful. Workplace culture, work hours outside of 9am-5pm, vacation days, continuous feedback, growth and development are all part of that mix.

“Is it as simple as having Apple computers, flexible work hours, a group yoga class and Friday Happy Hour? Maybe it is. Instead of being upset that this generation values different things, companies who embrace this reality will have motivated employees and therefor see greater returns.”

All being said, I do have a message from one millennial to another: don’t act like you know it all.

Yes, you may know a new and efficient way of doing things and have a broad range of skills, but be open to learn from others experiences. Our parents, employers and previous generations have learned a few things. Stop giving us all a bad name and be open to learning from them.

This isn’t so much of a debate as a reality. Millennials are making up the majority of the workforce and are motivated by different things. Employers who recognize those motivations will have highly engaged employees, and those who do not will continue to have employees that do not feel connected, loyal or motivated for the long term.