Millennials in the Workplace: Creating a Multigenerational Culture
People are working longer – in years. The good news? Our baby-boomers are living longer and are by far the most health conscious generation! The bad news? Pension is nearly non-existent, benefits are going up, thus retirement ages are also going up. Meanwhile, did you know that a child born in the U.S. today has more than a 50% chance of living to be at least 105? Or that a 20-year-old has a 50% chance of living beyond 100? This means our business cultures have to engage all generations in the workforce for a longer duration than ever before.
Key to all generations is the need to work together productively and be respected for our values and experiences. All generations want to remain engaged in their work by having the opportunity to continue to grow, develop, and be successful in assigned endeavors.
Inconsistent Stereotypes of Millennials in the Workplace
In Jennifer Deal’s, Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), Five Millennial Myths article, Jennifer found that “…. stereotypes of millennials in the workplace are inconsistent at best and destructive at worst.” Similarly, IBM’s multigenerational study of employees in 12 countries concluded that millennials are a lot like their older colleagues.
- Millennials don’t want to be told what to do
- Lack organizational loyalty
- Are not interested in work
- Want constant acclaim
- Are more motivated by perks and high pay
- Have different career goals and expectations
All these assumptions were found to be inaccurate. I found 2018 research from Gallup and other reputable institutions that millennials:
- 75% believe that their organizations could do more to develop future leaders
- 70% say work-life balance is very important
- 65% say opportunity for personal development most influenced their decision to accept their current job
- 64% say they’d rather make 40k a year at a job they enjoy than 100k at one they don’t.
- 59% say an employer’s provision of state-of-the art technology was important to them when considering a job
- 52% say career progression is the main attraction, ahead of competitive salaries at 44%
- 36% say the reputation of the organization influenced their decision to accept their current job
- 21% say they’ve changed jobs within the past year & 50% show less willing to stay in their current jobs
- 19% say that flexible working hours is the benefit they would most value from an employer
Looking Beyond Generational Differences
The one meaningful difference regarding millennials in the IBM study was not attitudinal or behavioral but that they are the first wave of digital natives to enter the workforce. Even though values and customs of society will change across the years, the underlying structure of human personality seems to be remarkably consistent. Our only difference it seems are experiences when growing up which influence the values and ‘personality’ of our generation.
So maybe we should stop talking about generational differences, but instead look at individuals in different stages of their lives, in order to flex behavior and work together. Some honest reflection on what we were like when we were younger, or where we might be heading when we get older, might help us to understand different-aged individuals better.
What’s Your Generation’s Personality?
Using personality-based assessments helps us coach and develop our employees to be self-aware of their current emotional and social paradigm, no matter what their age. Plus, education on fellow associates’ current personality markers can help us all to empathize with where others are at in their current life-stage and flex our approach to productively work to reach success together.