It's no mystery that millennials are changing the workforce and quickly rising up the ranks. By 2030, millennials will be approximately 75 per cent of the global workforce. Based on numbers alone, Millennials are accelerating change and growth in the office.
Conventional commentary about this generation credits millennials as being energized, open-minded and community-based. At their worst, they are perceived to be selfish, entitled, and prone to jump ship. These misconceptions give millennials a bad reputation. In truth, millennials are becoming the leaders we need for tomorrow's solutions -- without the handholding of previous generations.
Before we explore how the younger generation is managing up and succeeding in the workplace, let's get a few facts straight. Millennials, defined as those ages 18 to 34 (in 2015), are on track to being the most educated generation and are distinguished as the first wave of digital natives in the workforce, according to an IBM study. The idea that millennials expect endless praise and every opportunity to be handed to them is not true. In fact, they desire transparency, to be heard and treated fairly.
One example of millennials at the helm is the youthful founders of Snap Inc., a digital camera company. They are pushing more aggressively than predecessors to transform a scrappy start-up to a public company. The 26 year-old CEO declined to bring in "adult supervision" or senior counsel to plan the company's initial public offering. Instead, he is defining a new way to execute their IPO valued at more than $25 billion.
Even at my company, I've witnessed the younger generation succeed at proposing innovative ideas, incorporating new business practices, and gaining the trust of our collaborators and partners. Here are a few ways Millennials are using their unique skillsets and behaviors to exceed expectations and show older generations how to push beyond their boundaries.
Millennials are naturally fluent in technology. They easily incorporate technology into their job to create more efficient workflows. This gives millennials an immediate advantage in the office - they can find answers to complex questions in seconds, feeding their need to be more creative. What seems to be superfluous or optional gadgetry for baby boomers is often required for millennials. While baby boomers are eager for their company to adapt new technologies, they often lean on millennials to integrate new ways of doing business into everyday operations.
This generation is also motivated by the prospect of making a positive impact. Millennials seek out roles where they can feel fulfilled and make a constructive difference in their business - and the world. In fact, 56 per cent say their organization's purpose is why they wanted to work there. They want to better understand the company's big picture, prove their worth and work towards loftier goals.
Baby boomers tend to be more focused on near-term objectives; they pay attention to more traditional and tangible incentives (raises, more office space, new title) and short wins to advance their career. Millennials can inspire their managers and keep them focused on the organization's greater mission and purpose. The noble aspirations of millennials can set the bar higher for innovation.
At OncoSec, our mission is to pioneer new cancer treatments for patients. Scientific innovation is at the core of what we do, so it's paramount to encourage all employees to think like a millennial and think big. To that end, we developed educational resources to clearly communicate the company's vision and illustrate how each employee's role contributes to achieving our mission.
Millennials are proving that they don't need intense supervision as previously assumed. In reality, you may find that millennials are teaching older generations a thing or two about enhancing a business. Baby boomers and generation X should look for ways to embrace millennials and give them room to incite change. As the workforce becomes more virtual, competitive, and diverse each day, create environments where millennials are heard and valued -- you may start to see a positive impact sooner than you think.
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Find and foster different mentors for your varying skillsets. We’re more connected than we’ve ever been before to various acquaintances, friends, and professionals through our various social networks, which can be a huge source of support in a sometimes formidable technological world. Seeking out the help of someone a little bit more seasoned is one of the best things a millennial can do (just make sure to stay in touch with them). Having some outside perspective can help you sort out what you’d like to do in your life.
Everyone who has something to learn also has something to offer. While millennials are often branded as being a tech-savvy generation, that is often a simplistic view. Millennials do offer that, but, in many cases, they offer a far more realistic answer to certain situations. That’s why offering to mentor someone in the basics of your strong suit can be so useful for you and your mentorship student. By simply opening up your mind and thought process to another person, you’d be surprised how much both parties end up learning from it.
Despite widely reported issues surrounding our average student and personal debt, millennials aren’t actually doomed to a life of financial ruin. In fact, nearly half of all people in their 20s have started saving their money in a dedicated account. It turns out that the biggest hurdle facing millennials and their money isn’t a lack of ability when it comes to saving money, but a lack of trustworthy/good advice when it comes to money matters. To put it simply: we need to stop viewing our parents as the sole authorities on financial advice in our lives. Various studies show that millennials tend to struggle with finding a good source to provide financial guidance, and ultimately end up standing in place. We’re not saying to cut out the opinions and advice of your folks; they probably have some great tips and tricks (and, you know, respect your elders and all that) for you. But that advice should be paired with firsthand financial knowledge, and that’s on you to seek out and learn. You’ll be thankful that you took the initiative to understand (and control) your financial future, and so will your family back home.
Do you like Netflix? Of course you do. Do you like sleeping? You don’t even need to answer that. Are these in short supply sometimes? Now that’s the most problematic bit. One of the things that people often overlook in their lives is scheduling a block of “Me Time.” It seems like we stretch ourselves pretty thin in a lot of ways (work, relationships, home care, etc.) and when we crash, we crash hard. This makes dealing with the overwhelming nature of life and its endless possibilities extra tough. If your brain is in overdrive, how can you make a coherent choice about anything? It’s not impossible, but it’s still hard. That’s why a diverse array of business leaders and industry thinkers have been examining how we live our lives, and they’ve all come to the same conclusion: the work-life balance needs to be rebooted, and we can start by severely limiting how much work and digital noise we bring home with us. This is why it’s so important to budget out proper rest and relaxation time time for napping, relaxing, and binge-watching the shows in your Netflix queue. For every step you take towards realizing yourself and your dreams, make sure to take a moment to recharge and congratulate yourself for the forward momentum you’ve generated. You’re not being a Lazy Millennial; you’re ensuring that you’re not headed towards a midlife crisis down the road. Maybe the older generations could stand to take some advice from you for a change. The road map to Being A Millennial is being written every day, and there’s no right or wrong way to navigate this relatively unique point in history. But as long as you’re pushing forward and keeping your dreams in sight (no matter what form those dreams may take), you’re on the right path. Good luck!
Follow Punit Dhillon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/punitdhillon