A good portion of my coaching clients are part of the Millennial generation. They are either newly graduated and seeking their first “real” job, or they are early in their careers and looking to grow. While stereotypes abound about this generation (also known as Gen Y and born in early 80’s through early 2000’s ), based on my albeit somewhat small exposure to members of this group, I have made my own very positive impressions about them. Recent studies support my thinking.
- Millennials are passionate and enthusiastic. This passion and investment extends to what they have studied in school and what they do at work. Compensation Today suggests that Millennials are “under-recognized achievers” who are “ambitious and highly motivated.” Not bad attributes if you want to drive performance in the workplace.
- They value work and play, in equal measure. I have found that there is a high commitment to doing well at work and balancing that with a full social life. They seem to have a healthier view of the importance of both work and play than older generations. A recent study by the consulting firm PwC points out that Millennials do not believe that working excessively without consideration for personal time is worth it, even if it means more pay in the end. Interestingly, while Millennials are often considered slackers for this point-of-view, PwC also found that older generations also strongly desire more flexibility and balance in their lives.
- They are socially aware and want to make a difference. Millennials seem to have a greater sense of their place in the larger world. They understand their impact and responsibility to social and environmental issues. According to The Millennial Impact Research, a company’s involvement in causes is the third most important consideration in choosing an employer. This extensive report also highlights that this generation prefers to support people rather than institutions and issues not organizations, indicating an emphasis on relationships and culture.
- Opportunities for career growth and recognition are essential. My clients express a desire to have real opportunities to grow their skills and make a contribution in their organizations. Collaboration and recognition are also core drivers for them. The 2014 Qualtrics Millennials in Tech Survey results bear out this notion of the importance of collaboration and career growth to Gen Y employees. Both Compensation Today and the PwC study report a strong desire for support and recognition on the part of this group, suggesting that company culture must include these elements for most Millennials to be happy and productive.
My conclusion about the Millennial generation is that our workplaces and our world are in good hands as our Gen Y friends offer their passion, motivation, balance, social consciousness, desire for growth and collaboration to the world.