If you've read your fair share of content about recruiting, retaining, or managing Millennial talent, then chances are good that you're familiar with the fact that this generation is often talked about as if they're a completely separate species of human.
They're lazy. They're entitled. They're all about instant gratification. And, they live life with their iPhones permanently glued in front of their eyeballs.
Yes, this might be true for some Millennials you've met. But, as part of this generation myself, I can tell you those assumptions don't account for the vast majority of us -- and, as an employer, operating based on these misconceptions won't do you any favors.
So, today I'm busting six common myths you hear time and time again about Millennial employees -- so that you can manage based on reality, rather than your presumptions.
1. They're Entitled
Millennial entitlement is something you hear about time and time again. This generation wants it, and they want it now.
But, often what's misconstrued as a sense of entitlement is actually just a desire for growth and development. Yes, they crave clear cut indicators that they're making forward progress in their careers and professional lives -- but not necessarily the corner office by the time they hit the age of 30.
Remember, Millennials grew up in a much more fast-paced world than older generations. But, that doesn't mean they think they deserve everything, while earning nothing.
2. They're Lazy
I can't help but to laugh a little bit when people brush off Millennials as lazy.
Think of Mark Zuckerberg. Think of Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp, who founded Pinterest. Think of Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb. Think of Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, the co-founders of Dropbox.
They're the innovators behind the technologies you use nearly every day -- and they're all Millennials.
Sure, perhaps Millennials seek a little more work-life balance than their older counterparts. But, lazy? Well, definitely not.
3. They're Wooed By Perks and Ping-Pong Tables
Perhaps one of the biggest myths about recruiting Millennial talent is that they'll all be wooed by your stocked snack counter and your break room foosball table. And, yes, company perks are a nice touch.
But, as mentioned in the first point, those aren't the deciding factors for most career-driven Millennials. Instead, they seek leadership they can learn from, opportunities for growth and professional development, and companies that match up with their own core values.
So, don't go nuts marketing that kegerator you have in the middle of your conference room -- it's not the most important part.
4. They're Good at Social Media
It's true that Millennials are digital natives. But, don't make the mistake of thinking that they're all qualified to trailblaze your company's entire social media strategy.
Effective social media management is a skill -- and now an entire career path in its own right. It's not something that should be passed off to the youngest person in your office, simply because he or she grew up with Facebook.
If you're aiming for success with your social media accounts, search for someone who has the expertise and know-how to spearhead your initiatives, and not just any random Millennial employee.
5. They Lack Loyalty
Millennials have fostered a reputation as job hoppers -- and for good reason. They truly are the generation that jumps around the most.
But, before you point your finger and label Millennials as a bunch of noncommittal flakes who are always searching for greener pastures, take a moment to consider that maybe it's not their attitude that's the problem -- maybe it's you.
According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, two-thirds of Millennials have a desire to leave their current employers by 2020. But, not for the reasons you might think.
In fact, 63% say that they keep their eyes peeled for better opportunities because they feel that their leadership skills aren't being fully developed where they are now. So, perhaps a lack of loyalty isn't the problem -- maybe it's a lack of support and employer investment.
6. They're All the Same
If there's one main point you should walk away from this article with, it's this: No group of people should be generalized based on common myths or stereotypes.
Yes, you'll likely come across a quintessential Millennial or two that embodies all of these traits. But, it's important to remember that people are different -- regardless of the year they were born.
The smartest thing you can do as a manager or employer is to get to know your employees individually. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to lead them based on their individual and unique personalities, rather than sweeping generalizations. That's the mark of a truly effective and respected leader.