Lazy. Self-entitled. Praise-seeking. Stubborn. This is how the Millennial generation has been characterized ever since they were old enough to enter the workplace. However, a recent study by IBM is shining a new light on Millennials-- and it turns out they are getting a very unfair, much exaggerated reputation.
The multigenerational study of 1,784 employees across 12 countries and six industries finds that Millennials (born 1980-1993) are actually not that different from Gen X (born 1965-1979) and Baby Boomers (born 1954-1964; dates defined by the study). All three share similar professional expectations and wants. What sets Millennials apart is their digital proficiency, which is no surprise given their early exposure to technology.
Now is the time to bust the negative myths. By 2020, Millennials will comprise nearly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, and by 2030, 75 percent of the global workforce.
Managers take note: Here are five Millennial myths that need to end.
1. Millennials have different career goals and expectations than older generations
Contrary to popular belief, Millennials are not content to just live with their parents and job hop: They want financial and job security just as Boomers and Gen X do.
2. Millennials are always seeking praise and pats on the back
When asked to describe their ideal boss, Millennials do not want someone who sings their praises or gives them constant positive feedback. What they prioritize most is someone who is ethical, fair, and transparent.
3. Millennials love sharing everything online and see no boundaries between their personal and professional lives
While Millennials are more present than older generations on various social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, they know where to draw the line when it comes to sharing personal information. In fact, thanks to their early adoption of social media, Millennials have mastered the nuances of privacy controls and maintain stricter boundaries between their personal and professional social networks than Gen X or Baby Boomers.
4. Millennials constantly seek advice and validation before making a decision
Having come of age with Wikipedia and other crowdsourcing platforms, Millennials have a reputation of seeking outside advice before coming to a decision. True, more than half of the Millennials surveyed say they make better business decisions with the input of others--but it's nothing unique to them. A whopping two-thirds of Gen X also say they prefer to consult with others when making business decisions.
5. Millennials will job hop if they don't have their dreams fulfilled
When Millennials job hob, it's not simply to chase their passions or whimsical desires. In fact, their motivations are the same as those of Gen X and the Boomers: money and a more innovative environment. Give them that and they'll stay.
Enough myth; it's time for hard fact
The IBM study shows that no generation can be stereotyped in one broad stroke. On the contrary, there are more similarities between the three generations than differences. Embrace Millennials in the workplace now, and before you know it, they will help you onboard the next generation of employees and true digital natives, Gen Z (born 1994-present).