According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennials will be the largest generation in the workforce in 2015. Marketing-wise, they are said to be the most studied group in recorded history.
Perhaps Gen X is giving them a run for their money, but for now it’s all about millennials.
This latest study found that when it comes to workplace value, millennials have a lot more to offer than originally expected.
Millennials have often been criticized for being flaky, uncommitted and un-driven compared to baby boomers. In the above infographic, courtesy of elance odesk, this reputation has made millennial employees difficult to find and retain (at least by the 53% of hiring managers polled).
But there’s another side.
In today’s marketplace, what were once unemployable minuses 30 years ago are now tremendous pluses, making millennials a great asset to your team. It all boils down to a matter of perception and knowing how to identify and use millennial strengths to your company’s advantage.
In case you hiring managers or business owners are still leery, we’ve included 5 reasons Millennials are an asset to your workplace instead of a liability.
5 Reasons You Need Millennials on your team
Reason #1: Millennials are more adaptable.
*image courtesy of alt-market.com
“It” happens. “It” hits the fan. It’s called life.
There’s a popular saying that goes, “Life happens while you’re making plans”. No matter how much you plan, draw out your X’s and O’s, things rarely go as expected. And it’s safe to say this is irrefutable by any living, breathing human being that has been alive long enough.
Translation: being able to adapt to changes quickly is an indispensable asset.
Millennials are the most adaptable generation ever. Having grown up in a world of volatile changes, they’ve had to deal with everything from 9/11 in 2001 to the Housing bubble crash of 2008 to the first non-white president to the massive student loan debt bubble.
In other words, millennials don’t get as rattled as older generations when something happens. For them, its life. Nothing is promised.
Reason #2: Millennials are more open to change.
In today’s workplace, flexibility is a key success factor. Business is high-tech and fast-paced with new technology emerging every week, it seems.
The industrial era companies are a thing of the past. Businesses are not rooted down to one factory forever. Businesses relocate. More people are working remotely. Smaller staffs require wearing different hats.
And no one is better at multi-tasking than a millennial who can walk and read their emails at the same time.
Reason #3: Millennials are more creative.
When Joe worked at a car factory decades ago as inspector 51, creativity was neither required nor desired of him.
When Joe’s millennial granddaughter hits the workplace today, creativity is a necessary part of the job description.
The point: Millennials are by nature more innovative than generations past.
They were raised post-internet, in a world where doors of opportunity opened that were never possible before.
With the internet came more opportunities to be creative. One example is You Tube—the video site now owned by Google that allows anyone with a You Tube account and internet service to start and publish videos to their very own channel.
Many millennials have become You Tube entrepreneurs, earning six and in rare cases, seven figures. Millennials are also marrying and having children later in life compared to baby boomers, freeing them up to take more risks with their creative ideas.
In the workplace, a creative millennial is a tremendous asset. No matter the industry or career field, business requires creativity to solve today’s problems. Creativity thinks of new ways to do things if the old ones are no longer working—which is vital in business to stay competitive.
Reason #4: Millennials are more entrepreneurial.
Baby-boomers and entrepreneurship go together like peanut butter and… tuna fish.
Entrepreneurship was not a valuable asset in the days of the 9 to 5, 40 hour week, 40 year career with the same job.
But today, even if Millennials aren’t entrepreneurs themselves, they exist in an entrepreneurial world and are more native to entrepreneurial principles than previous generations.
Even further, Millennials, due to the time in which they came of age, are entrepreneurial by default. Job stability today is gone with the wind. With employees staying for an average of five years with the same company compared to thirty, one has to think both independently and creatively to survive.
However they choose to deal with it, the fact remains that Millennials understand that nothing is guaranteed or secure. So they work independently and with self-determination. This is a huge asset to your workplace for sure.
The New Employee 2.0
When companies offer 401Ks instead of guaranteed pensions and no promises of lifetime employment with insurance benefits, the employee-dependent mindset has become obsolete.
In today’s world, Millennials have to contend with overrated college degrees and an ongoing economic downturn, making it harder to get in the door of their desired careers.
Entrepreneurship is a mindset. And although it may seem counter-intuitive to being an employed member in your workplace, the millennial entrepreneurial spirit is a great asset.
Well, entrepreneurs carry less of the employee entitlement complex. They know that if (and when) this particular job ends, there’s another opportunity they can make for themselves. This cuts down on the cut-throat mentality of the workplace, since the job at hand is not their only hope for survival. This means they aren’t stepping on others to get a promotion or maintain their current position.
Also, because Millennials are not as entitled, you get less drama from them. They are like the middle child in the family—less whiny and more self-reliant because they have to be. Since they’re not emotionally attached to the job as a baby boomer would be, there’s less expectations for perks and other work-related issues.
Reason #5: Millennials are more tech-savvy.
Like it or not, being a digital native has its perks.
Millennials have been criticized for being totally dependent on technology in a way generations before have not. Two year olds are adept at using a computer playing video games online. Teenagers are immersed in Social Media to the point of concern. College students walk down the street with eyes glued to their iphone without looking up (and still managing not to trip, fall OR get hit by a car).
Socially disturbing? Perhaps. But this trait can come in handy.
These digital natives are huge assets in a digital workplace. Rarely is there a place without computers or computer operated systems. Because of being raised with computers and post-internet, even the least intelligent Millennial has the capability to use software in a way older employees (and even employers) cannot.
Unlike the baby boomers and even Gen Xers, Millennials are intuitively more familiar with technology. They aren’t afraid of techie lingo. Apps don’t freak them out. Using Microsoft Office doesn’t daunt them.
In fact, your millennial employee/team member is able to explain to co-workers how to create that PowerPoint presentation they’ve been fumbling around with. With technical changes happening on a regular basis, Millennials master new software programs quickly compared to older employees screaming “I hate computers!”
And with this kind of familiarity, combined with creativity, entrepreneurship, adaptability and being open to change, Millennials are the employees of the future—and one of your greatest assets in the workplace.
Question: What has your experience with millennial employees been lately? What is one way you can better utilize their strengths to your workplace’s advantage?