The numbers tell the tale: Millennials - the generation born between 1980 and 1995 - are quickly becoming the nation's predominant adult generation, poised to overtake Baby Boomers by 2019. Given their numbers, there's no question you'll be hiring Millennials, but this generation is a continual source of frustration - mainly due to the many myths about them in the workplace. That's right, myths! Many of the most common beliefs about Millennial employees are untrue.
One key assumption that's faulty right off the top is that all Millennials think and behave the same. The first key to hiring and retaining Millennials and integrating them successfully into any workplace is considering members of this generation as individuals. Consider their unique talents and skills - even if they do fall within this much-maligned generation. Now that you've cut out the generalizing, here are five of the top myths about Millennials and how the experts weigh in.
Myth 1: Millennials are entitled
Experts note that many Millennials were raised in an era where parenting changed from an authoritarian form to a more empowerment-based style in which each child's voice was valued and appreciated. As such, you may see some Millennials come into the workplace looking for an opportunity to contribute their opinions and govern their own responsibilities immediately as opposed to sitting back, staying quiet, and observing. Finding ways to share the responsibility with your Millennial employees, no matter how small, is a good way to make them feel as though they have some ownership in the processes of the team.
Myth 2: Millennials lack loyalty
Department of Labor statistics show that Millennials report a similar job tenure to Gen Xers when compared in similar age cohorts. Research indicates that education level is a better predictor of how likely an employee is to remain in a job, but the fact is that retention rates generally are increasing. Many articles have been written on the topic of Millennial retention - getting Millennial employees to stay with your company - but all other things being equal, Millennials aren't actually any more likely to job hop than any other generational group.
Myth 3: Millennials do not respect their predecessors
On the contrary, more and more Millennials are seeking out increased time for mentoring in the workweek, according to a study from Deloitte. This represents an opportunity for growth, as the same report shows that organizations that offer vibrant development and training programs for their Millennial employees benefit from the increased loyalty of these same workers.
To quote the CEO of one recruiting software company, "Mentorship is the number-one way to mold Millennials, helping them grow and succeed while at the same time helping you get the most out of their growth and success. ... Mentorship is mind control from the right side of your heart."
Myth 4: Millennials do not listen to their supervisors
Again, false. A survey from the Center for Creative Leadership found that 41 percent of Millennials agreed that "employees should do what their manager tells them, even when they can't see the reason for it," making them the most compliant generation above Baby Boomers, who agreed they'd go along at a rate of 30 percent, and members of Generation X, who also assented to comply at 30 percent.
Myth 5: Millennials know the most about technology
The term "digital native" is often used to refer to Millennials, referring to people who have grown up in a media-saturated world wherein they have always known the presence of technology. While many Millennials are digital natives, and have been raised with persistent access to computers, gaming systems and even the Internet, others are not, for socioeconomic reasons or reasons of family preference. Additionally, exposure to technology doesn't confer an understanding of it.
Studies show that Millennials are no more likely to know about how technology works than older generations. The bad news is that there's no natural or instinctive understanding of how to fix computers or patch together the company WiFi system that being in the Millennial cohort confers. The good news is that this means you, too, can learn to fix the company's computers!
Hiring - including hiring Millennials - is an important aspect for any organization. Now that these top myths about Millennials in the workforce have been exposed, take advantage of the talented candidates from this age group who are ready to be screened for your open positions. KENTECH can assist with this process no matter the industry by providing comprehensive background investigations utilizing our High Tech High Touch ™ Approach. KENTECH specializes in background investigations for law enforcement including screening a growing Millennial workforce.