Millennials in the Workforce: Separating Fact From Fiction

selfie

Millennials in the Workforce: Separating Fact From Fiction by @HRTMExec

Reports that the millennial generation is ruining the country are greatly exaggerated. It turns out that they’re not superficial, self-centered slackers who spend all day taking and posting selfies.

On the other hand, more positive depictions of millennials as having a stronger sense of community and being committed to saving the world are not quite accurate either.

According to a recent study published by IBM, millennial workers aren’t so different from other employees. In fact, the biggest difference between the youngest and the oldest workers is “digital proficiency.”

Millennials are young adults between the ages of 21 and 34. Within the next five years, the first wave of millennials will be positioned to move into leadership positions. By 2020, they will make up half of the U.S. workforce. To make this transition as smooth as possible, companies need to foster an environment that develops the strengths of this generation. However, they must first separate fact from fiction.

IBM conducted a multi-generational survey of 1,784 employees from organizations spanning 12 countries and 6 industries, comparing the preferences and behavioral patterns of Millennials with those of Generation X (between the ages of 35-49) and Baby Boomers (those 50-69 years old).

According to Carolyn Baird, Global Research Leader at IBM Institute for Business Value, “This was a myth-buster report. We weren’t expecting to get the type of data we did.”

“Millennial career goals are one of the most interesting things that we found out. What millennials really want for long-term career goals is not fundamentally different from other generations. We thought they would want to start their own businesses, because they are entrepreneurial; but they want to make a positive impact on their organization, and they want to help solve problems.”

Baird also says that as much as millennials love social media, they prefer face-to-face formats for learning. “As opposed to virtual leaving environments, they would rather attend events and conferences, learn in classroom settings, and work alongside knowledgeable colleagues.”

Below are the rest of the study results regarding myths about millennials in the workforce:

.

Myth #1: Millennials’ career goals and expectations are different from their elders

Truth: Millennials place the same weight on many of the same career goals as older employees do

Top Career Goals

Millennials

Gen X

Baby Boomers

Make a positive impact on my organization

25%

21%

23%

Become a senior leader

18%

18%

18%

Start my own business

17%

12%

15%

.

Myth #2: Millennials need endless praise, and they think everyone on the team should get a trophy

Truth:  Gen X is more likely to want pats on the back

Rewards and Bosses

Millennials

Gen X

Baby Boomers

If a team is successful, everyone should be rewarded

55%

64%

44%

Employees should be rewarded for sharing information and collaborating

55%

66%

43%

.

Myth #3: Millennials are digital addicts who want to – and do – share everything online, with no regard for personal or professional boundaries

Truth: Gen X is more likely to blur the lines

Digital Environment

Millennials

Gen X

Baby Boomers

Use personal social media accounts to communicate with colleagues and business partners

55%

59%

41%

Use personal social media accounts to market/sell the organization’s products and services

54%

62%

46%

Would never use personal social media accounts for business purposes

27%

24%

7%

.

Myth #4: Millennials can’t make a decision without crowdsourcing

Truth: Gen X is more likely to adopt this approach

Decision-Making

Millennials

Gen X

Baby Boomers

I make better decisions when a variety of people provide input

56%

64%

49%

It is important to have group consensus

55%

61%

39%

My organization’s leaders are the most qualified to make decisions

53%

57%

41%

.

Myth#5: Millennials are more likely to jump ship if a job doesn’t fulfill their passions

Truth: Employees of every generation usually have the same reasons for changing jobs

Reasons for Changing Jobs

Millennials

Gen X

Baby Boomers

Enter the fast lane (make more money and work in a more creative/innovative environment

42%

47%

42%

Shoot for the top (assume more responsibility in an organization with a first-rate reputation)

24%

19%

28%

Follow my heart (advance my career while doing work I’m passionate about)

21%

24%

16%

.

“In many ways, work values are the same across generations,” says Baird. And she cautions, “People are complex, and they need to be treated differently instead of lumping them by generations. It would be a mistake to make sweeping generalizations.”

Related posts:

Leave a Reply