Contrary to what the media seems to believe, millennials are good hires who can offer much value to a company. They can help with branding and reenergize the work motivations. There are even lessons to be learned on how they travel differently.
I recently had the pleasure of working directly with a few 20-somethings. Admittedly, I was slightly annoyed at first as I didn't think they had enough experience to understand what we were working on. However, I was surprised (and humbled) when their ideas and work ethic were better than some of my peers.
Here are a few lessons I learned while working with them.
1. Be flexible.
It's no secret that the workplace is changing. With more and more opportunities to work remotely, millennials are embracing the challenge but also welcoming the positives of working online. According to a study done by Bentley University, nearly 80 percent of millennials believe that flexibility in schedules equal better productivity.
Millennials aren't afraid of work either. Project: Time Off and GfK KnowledgePanel did a study and found that millennials want to be seen as work martyrs. While there are definitely positives and negatives to that idea, it is interesting to see how the work dynamic changes.
2. Embrace technology for productivity assistance.
Millennials have grown up being accessible. Whether through smartphone, email, or even beepers and pagers, millennials have grown up not knowing the feeling of being completely unreachable. They also don't know what it's like to leave work at work.
This can be beneficial though. Because of this, they've learned how to use and integrate technology for higher productivity. A survey done by Levo and Microsoft Office found that 92 percent of millennials use tools to get things done. Whether it's using productivity apps or developing a new marketing campaign based on the latest trending topic, millennials know how to use the digital world to make the physical world more accessible.
3. Learn to brand and ask/give feedback.
There's no denying that many millennials have had to curate who they are digitally. Even if they don't use social media, most things are now available online and a Google search is bound to turn up some information. Having a presence online is especially important for entrepreneurs.
The group I was working with said they preferred when a company had individuals that they could follow on social media. Not only did it make the company seem more approachable, it also helped them understand who the company was. For instance, one girl said she loved following hair care spokespeople on Instagram because she felt like she was in the know.
Another tip from millennials? Give feedback. According to a Gallup Poll, less than 20 percent of workers received feedback on their work. Surprisingly, the millennials polled wanted routine feedback.
They say if you want to survive, you must adapt. Millennials tend to be more open to new ideas and will work to get the results they want. In fact, one study from Alamo Rent a Car and Research Now found that millennials actually feel guilty for taking time off.
Additionally, according to a Bankrate.com survey, nearly 30 percent of millennials have a side hustle to add to their main income. While I think that may stem from fears about the economy, I also think there are some good takeaways in learning to adapt. By adapting, you can join in and integrate with the company culture. But taking some time off is okay too if you want to avoid burnout.
5. Integrate work and play.
You have probably read about companies incorporating and encouraging more social opportunities. They do this by setting up offices so that they are more community centric (for example, round tables, the ability to bring a pet to work, shared catered lunches, etc.). This is meant to inspire creativity, build relationships, and make the workplace feel fun.
The group I worked with were saying that they appreciated having a community workspace. While most said there's definitely drama at times, for the most part everyone gets along. They said they still felt like a team and felt more confident that they could rely on each other to get things done.