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Blog/September 15, 2014

The Truth About What It’s Like Being a Millennial in the Workplace

Millennials have once again been trending in the news, and for once, it is not about our selfie-taking abilities. Lately, I have read several articles calling millennials entitled, unmotivated, impossible to manage – I feel like half of these articles are describing two-year-olds (or what I would imagine raising a two-year-old would be like). I never realized we were so difficult to work with or understand.

Though I am not here to tell you the context of these articles  is wrong – I am sure whoever wrote these articles interviewed someone or came across a bad apple in the office and decided to label a group of over 74.3 million U.S. millennials as such. I will argue that I do not think it is fair to label millennials into any category. In reality, there are “Peter Pans” in every generation.

So let me tell you what it is really like being a millennial in the workplace…

  1. We DO want to find a company that we can work and grow with long term. No one enjoys looking for a new job. However, we do want to experience different positions to get a full understanding of different aspects of organizations. It is important to us that we find a career path that we like and are passionate about.
  2. We like to work collaboratively. We enjoy working with a team and the more tight-knit our team can become, the better. Group work is a great place for us to find others to look to for mentorship within the organization and to grow as an individual.
  3. We want to understand our role currently and how it plays into the future of the company. We like room to grow. It is stressful to be in a position where the goals you are given do not seem to fit into the overall strategy and goals of the company. Understanding your role in the big picture, as small as it may be, does help.
  4. Our salary does not mean as much as your investment in us. Money is great, but education is an investment that many of us cannot afford. When a company invests in your long-term career and reinforces this by paying for continued education courses, it will more times than not make an employee more loyal to your organization. Additionally, it will likely make the team behind your organization smarter and stronger.
  5. We want to have a good work-life balance. There are so many articles on health, stress and happiness, and we do read them (or our baby boomer parents read them and market them to us). But we believe in this. It is great when a company is conscious of your overall health (mental and physical) – either by paying for gym memberships and corporate sports teams or being more flexible with their “work remotely” policy. These small gestures go a long way!

Millennial or not, it is always hard to acclimate to change. Change is different, and developing a level of understanding about how to work with someone “new” in your team is always a challenge. The key is not to label or push anyone away. Invest in your team (millennials included) by understanding its needs and career goals.

To learn more about working with millennials and strategies to implement within your firm, follow our conversation @fmicorporation using #FMI_millennialsatwork.

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