Giving Millennials a Fighting Chance in the Workplace

In a survey by Lending Tree measuring worth in the workplace, they inquired about the perceived value of three generations: Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. Millennials earned high marks for their skills with technology, but also earned the lowest rating overall. Considered the least reliable, least hardworking, least productive and least intelligent, millennials ranked last in 7 of the 10 traits. Ouch!

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while because it seems that every week there is a new article I read about how horrible the Millennial generation is in the workplace. However, the negative traits that people assign to Millennials are NOT generational. Don’t we all know people who are not millennials, yet they feel entitled? And don’t we know people from many generations who would rather text than talk on the phone; who have unrealistic expectations of compensation; who have a poor work ethic; and want a flexible work schedule?

I’ve interacted and worked with Millennials who have strong work ethics, are very respectful and are willing to do what needs to be done to get the job completed.

When it’s broken down by wants and needs in the workplace, Millennials are seemingly no different than the other generations when they were at the same age/stage of life.

Instead, we could appreciate the fact that the Millennials are a strong generation, proving that there are other ways to do things — run businesses, connect with people, and handle workload. And just because it isn’t what previous generations experienced doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

So, can we please stop bashing the Millennials and give them a chance?

It is the assumed role of each generation to create a better environment for the generations to follow. Don’t we want our children to NOT have to go through some of the things we went through as we entered the workplace? We (speaking here as a Gen Xer) are the ones who developed the technologies that ALL generations use now. Then why are the Millennials taking the heat for using what we’ve provided them, for the benefit of their generation and the next? As the first group who has grown up with pocket technology and social media, what Millennials know is instant feedback and global communication, so that is what they will look for in the workplace. And honestly, that’s an awesome advancement for ALL of us.

All generations want to be able to benefit from technology with increased efficiency. All generations want to be respected and have advancement opportunities in the workplace. We seem to forget that when we (whether you are a Boomer or a Gen Xer) were the up-and-coming generations we had all of these same thoughts and ideas. So let’s stop bashing and start embracing ALL generations and what they bring to our businesses. I am excited for what both the Millennials, and the following Generation Z, will bring to the workplace, taking our advancements in technology and efficiencies to the next level, in their own way.

-Deanna Arnold
President, Employers Advantage