USAToday published an article online today about millennials in the workplace – specifically, that millennials prefer to be in an actual workplace than work from home. According to the article, a new report proved millennial workers want more face-to-face collaboration with coworkers. What a concept! The study also said we prefer to work in teams more than Gen Xrs and that we are becoming more and more frustrated with a tech overload. While I, personally, am fine working on my own as well as in a team, I can definitely relate to the feeling of being slowly swallowed by information overload.
This article got me thinking: How else do millennials feel in the workplace? What are we doing to change the face of the modern-day office? What should our more experienced colleagues and bosses expect from us?
Job Satisfaction is Important to Us
First and foremost, we want to be happy in our jobs. Money is nice, but my contemporaries and I want to feel that the company we work for is doing something important – whether it’s for a non-profit or working on something innovative and new. According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey, 78% of us feel that innovation is essential for business growth and 71% of us believe that business innovation improves society. According to a Pew Research Center study, helping others is our 3rd highest priority (being a good parent and partner come in 1st and 2nd,, respectively). Another important part of job satisfaction is the feeling of teamwork and inclusiveness. A survey put out by Ernst & Young showed that millennials are highly collaborative. This goes hand-in-hand with wanting more face-to-face interaction. We millennials are often maligned for being addicted to tech, but we crave meaningful, real world interactions as well, which part of being a team entails.
You Should Embrace Our Skill Differences
We are, without a doubt, the generation with the most access to, and therefore affinity for, technology. With our deep knowledge and understanding of new technology, we are able to quickly share ideas with others, multitask, and do it all at an often speedier rate than our older colleagues. These different skills and work styles aren’t going away any time soon and can add great value to an organization. Since we love working in teams, we’d also love to share with you our approach.
We’re Okay With Grunt Work
Don’t let stereotypes from the millennial-haters fool you: the smart Gen-Yrs are okay with getting their hands dirty. Even if it’s a bit of a shift to go from college where we have the newest technology at our fingertips to a workplace that hasn’t yet adopted the latest and greatest tools, that surprise shouldn’t be confused for frustration. Managers should take the time to explain to their millennial employees why they’re doing a task and why it benefits the team.
One of the millennial stereotypes I hate most is that we don’t know how to take care of ourselves or how to get things done. To the surprise of many, we’re extremely self-sufficient. According to a poorly named article on Reuters, when faced with a tech problem, 71% of us, instead of calling support, turn to Google for answers. This isn’t to say, though, that we won’t ask for help from our more experienced counterparts when the time comes.
Fundamentally, millennials want what everyone else wants and should be treated with as much respect and consideration as our more practiced coworkers. We want to learn, we want to be valued, and we want to do something meaningful, just like every other generation.