No matter whether you call them Millennials or Generation Y, the largest generation since the Baby Boomers is now a strong part of the workforce and continuing to change the way businesses interact with one another. This dynamic has sparked stereotypes, controversy, and conflict between generations in the workforce; as new ideas and characteristics are being founded through the Gen Y working class.
Generation Y is said to reach 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. Meaning, like them or not, Gen Y is here to stay and is making a major splash in the working world. Just like every other stereotype, it’s easy to place blanket statements on a generation of young adults that quite possibly have seen the worst job market in years. However, understanding Generation Y could be the key to hiring the next great class of employees and take your business to the next level in the future.
Here are some of the top four myths about Generation Y that can be better understood. We hope this may prove helpful when choosing the right candidate to hire for your business.
MYTH: Gen Y Is Lazy
TRUTH: Gen Y Is Bored Without A Challenge
More than ever before, the millennial generation is inundated with millions of messages a day. From social media, online news, work conversations and more, they are always tuned in. With the abundance of information available to the Gen Y workforce, it is impossible to decipher and weed through everything to determine best practices for business. They are bored with old-school processes and tedious tasks because they’re used to fast forwarding, skimming, and only accessing the “good stuff” without all of the unnecessary information along the way.
Gen Y’ers need to be guided toward the best practice methods for business and engaged on a deeper level with more challenging work. If the messages are targeted and poignant with solid information, millennials will be prepared for success and able to decipher the information effectively. In hiring the right Gen Y professionals, you should be specific with requests, deal with their short attention span by creating clear messages, and be able to provide them with challenging projects.
MYTH: Gen Y Has Trouble Finding Jobs
TRUTH: Gen Y Has Trouble Networking
Due to the overabundance of online sources and messages that Gen Y receive daily, they believe that finding a job is best done online. Where as the Baby Boomer generation built relationships and sought out professions based on networks of people, many Gen Y’ers may be removed from these connections. Even though many platforms have driven online recruiting, with websites such as LinkedIn, the importance of networking is still imperative to the hiring process. Without the strong network and community that sets them apart from the crowd, the Gen Y’er can become just another mediocre application in a sea of overqualified candidates. Understanding this concept and building mentor programs, as well as nurturing relationships between generations, is an important step in building a strong network and community for the future of your business overall.
MYTH: Gen Y Has Unrealistic Job Expectations
TRUTH: Gen Y Seeks Change In Community & Stability
Many stereotypes cast members of Generation Y as being lazy or apathetic employees that just want to sit in comfy chairs and have major job perks because they feel entitled. More than other generations, Gen Y has proven that they are willing to sacrifice pay for flexibility and community change. According to research done by a North Carolina advertising and PR agency CapStrat, life outside of work is important for millennials. A large number of millennials have experienced first-hand how it feels to have their Baby Boomer or Gen X parents spend too much time away from home at work! Because of this, many Gen Y’ers seek out overall job stability, with health benefits, and time off for family – over pay.
Millennials also seek fulfillment in jobs that give back to the community and promote change, and that “think self-consciousness shouldn’t be separate from the workplace, but a part of it.” Many successful startups and well-established companies alike are impacting their communities with social-awareness programs similar to the TOM’s model. These social initiatives appeal greatly to Generation Y as a whole. Millennials are seeking more meaning from their daily jobs. Harnessing these social qualities creates compassionate, caring employees rather than the myth of apathy and selfishness.
MYTH: Gen Y Is Disrespectful
TRUTH: Respect Is Earned, Not Based On Hierarchy
While the Generation X’ers have been raised with a strong value of superiority from their elders, Generation Y believes that respect is earned rather than given. This doesn’t mean that Gen Y individuals are disrespectful; but they are weary of new relationships, based on their past personal experiences. Gen Y’ers are products of economic crisis, terrorism, record breaking divorce rates, and many more unstable climates. Can you blame them for a little mistrust? In order to gain the trust of Gen Y employees, you have to earn their respect by treating them as equals and showing them trust. Gen Y has the ability to demonstrate a high quality work ethic, being that they are in many cases highly educated and overqualified. By showing your trust in them, and building rapport to encourage their trust in you; it can lead to high levels of mutual respect and creativity that skyrockets your business to the next level.
We hope to have helped you in your search for the perfect new employees. It’s best to understand that no “myths” or “truths” are applicable to all people within a certain demographic. However, it is beneficial to know the main differences in generations and use that information to your advantage during the hiring process and in employee management. Comment below and let us know of other Gen Y myths you may have debunked!