5 truths and 3 myths about millenials at work

Talented ambitious, narcissistic… there’s all sort of preconceived ideas about the profile of millennials in companies

3 verdades y 3 mitos sobre los Millennials en el trabajo
01/03/2017 · Xavier Orri Badia

Talented ambitious, narcissistic… there’s all sort of preconceived ideas about the profile of millennials in companies

They are targeted by all analysis, debates and current sociological studies. The millennial generation is being scrutinized by society as it sets its foot on the market, either as consumers or as workers. Around it, a myriad of preconceived ideas are soaking in: lazy, narcissistic or spoiled, but also talented, digital and with enough ambition to achieve more than simple economic results at work.

Like in any pre-fabricated ideas, there can be some truth in them as there is myth. We are going to analyse the millennial profile in order to tell reality from hyperbole in our conception of them. 

5 truths about millennials in companies

  • “Technology is an extension of millennials”

They are digital natives, so technology has been part of their everyday lives since they were toddlers. If there is a generation capable of adapting quickly to technological changes and working methods, it’s the millennial generation.

The use they make of technology determines the way in which they work, how they consume, how they relate to each other and even how they collect and generate information. According to studies, 63% of millennials get informed directly from digital platforms and social media, bypassing traditional channels. 

  • “Millennials need flexible environments”

For baby-boomers, the distinction between their careers and their personal life was nonnegotiable. Stability was a proxy for success. This has changed for millennials, who must combine these two aspects.

For millennial workers, the key to success at work lies within the very pleasure of working. Leisure and work are increasingly close to each other and this has an impact on working conditions. Three out of four millennials are only interested in working in flexible companies, with no fixed schedules and able to adapt to their needs, obviously committing to compensate such confidence with results. 

  • “Millennials want to take part in change”

This is what studies show. According to a study carried out by Intelligence Group, 64% of millennials wish to make the world a better place through their work. In fact, this is one of the most engaged generations in non-political activism, something that is in clear contrast with the egocentrism with which they are labeled. The 2015 Millennial Impact Report showed that in that year, 84% of millennials had done at least one donation for a social cause, 70% had participated in some kind of voluntary work, and 48% donated to causes promoted by their companies. 

3 myths about millennials

  • “They are not trustworthy, they switch companies very easily”

Even though it is true that statistics show that millennials have a greater working mobility than previous generations, one must think of their motivations to stay in a company. Two statistics may help us understand this: according to a study carried out by Gallup, 87% of millennials consider training and learning a priority when choosing and keeping a job, and 70% would be willing to look for another job in the absence of growing opportunities.

Millennials search for opportunities to evolve and to grow both from a personal and from a professional perspective. HR departments are investing more and more energy every day in setting formative proposals and career plans for their employees, aiming to retain their talent. 

  • They need a leisure-like working atmosphere”

We usually associate the idea of “start-up” with dream-like offices full of millennials playing Ping-Pong or table football, and sliding down a vertical bar like firemen wannabes, but these elements are not gratuitous: they foster cooperation, a relaxed working atmosphere, and they offer a space for mental rest.

However, the curse of the flashy Ping-Pong table doesn’t last long, as it ends up becoming part of the worker’s routine.  Leisure is just one more appealing element of start-ups, but it’s not their main strength. Like any other generation, millennials value highly working benefits such as medical insurances, training programs, paid holidays and a company plan meeting their professional expectations… and, of course, a salary in accordance to their positions. 

  • Salaries are not a priority for millennials”

They want to be part of a shifting world; they value personal growth… it may seem that salaries are not important for them but that is plainly wrong. Remuneration is the main preference for this generation when looking for a job, even over other criteria like the job’s mission or the working environment. According to a study carried out by Staples Business Advantage, 52% of millennials that changed jobs in 2014 did it for economic improvement purposes.

Doubts cleared: a competitive salary in accordance with the worker’s value for the company is still a fundamental strategy to attract and retain millennial talent

Xavier Orri

Xavier Orri Badia

Co-founder & COO