It’s no secret that there’s a negative feeling towards Millennials in this day and age; however, that can definitely be changed. Some people believe that Millennials don’t have valuable opinions or constantly need to be guided in the right direction. But luckily a lot of these misconceptions are exactly that — misconceptions. However, there is one misconception that has been deemed the self-confirmed Millennial stereotype.
The Self-Confirmed Millennial Stereotype
Among the few stereotypes that have actually proven themselves to be somewhat accurate, is the idea that Millennials have a poor work ethic. Though this certainly can not be tagged on to each and every Millennial in the world, approximately 50% of Millennials will actually agree that they do in fact have a poor work ethic, according to the results from a study performed by Bentley University. And what’s even more surprising, is that 66% of Millennials believe that employers should decrease the usage of social media in order to better engage their employees and thereby increase work ethic. This is a very interesting point, as Millennials themselves are saying it would help to decrease social media usage, rather than someone looking from the outside in.
Additionally, an annual survey over the years performed by the University of Michigan found that 38% of Millennials said they do not want to work hard, as opposed to 26% of Boomers not wanting to work hard. That’s a 12% difference between the Boomers and the Millennials’ desires to work hard in order to earn their standing in the workforce. In addition to this, when asked if they would continue to work if they had enough money, 29% of Millennials said they would not work, and only 22% of Boomers said they would not work. These results clearly demonstrate a generational change between the Boomers and the Millennials and the ideals they have in the workforce.
So Why Do They Have A Poor Work Ethic?
According to Stefanie Williams in her article in the Huffington Post, Millennials always expect that the job hunt will be easier than it actually is. They expect to be offered the first position they apply for and start at the top. Surprisingly, over half of the Millennial population think that an employer should promote them after only one year, regardless of awards and achievements. This could be one of the main considerations when trying to figure out why Millennials have such a poor work ethic. They expect to just be handed everything.
Additionally, Millennials claim that the typical 9-5 job just isn’t cutting it anymore. In such a fast growing world, Millennials argue that companies should be more flexible in allowing employees to choose their own work hours and schedules. In doing so, Millennials claim that they would be more motivated to work on their own time, instead strictly on Monday through Friday from 9-5. According to the study performed by Bentley University as mentioned above, 89% of the Millennial generation claims to regularly check their work email after work hours. This demonstrates that if employers were to change to a more flexible work schedule, than it is highly likely that companies would get more work out of the younger Millennial generation after the typical business hours.
Another point to consider is that growing up in a digital era where anything you could possibly need to know was readily available may have done more harm than good for the Millennials. They got so used to having automatic access to anything at the touch of a button, or even the short one-minute conversation with Siri to gather some answers. Because of this downfall, now Millennials are paying the price. Some employers admit that they try not to hire Millennials because of their known poor work ethic or some other stereotype floating around out there.
How Can They Change?
In order for Millennials and other generations to start getting along better, it is necessary that both sides understand the whole situation. Millennials see their employers as “living in the past” and not evolving to current trends, whereas other generations see Millennials as only worrying about themselves and expecting more paid time off. However, these are extremes for both sides of the discussion and it is important for all generations to acknowledge this key point.
The other generations are the ones who occupy the majority of the management roles currently. This means that they worked extremely difficult and put in long days, nights, and weekends to earn their spot in management. Therefore, they believe that they know exactly what it takes to be successful in the world — grueling hard work and endless dedication.
On the other side, the Millennials have very different views than those of their employers. Millennials no longer believe in working the standard 9-5 today, and think that a flexible work schedule would increase their motivation. They’re not asking for more time off or even to work from home, they are simply asking that they have control of their own work schedule and may even put in time on the weekends or from their homes in the evenings. Additionally, Millennials value a strong work-life balance more than any other generation that preceded them. They don’t want their lives to be consumed with work; they want to be able to have families and take care of their families before work matters.
Even though it seems that Millennials have clashing opinions from those of other generations, it is definitely possible to find a happy medium in the middle. First off, Millennials need to stop thinking they know everything and actually listen to what the other generations have to say. Those people all got to their positions for a reason, and it was likely the hard work that everyone is talking about. Next, other generations need to stop grouping all Millennials together with the negative stereotypes. Just because one individual follows the stereotype does not mean the next individual will. If these two big steps are taken on both sides of the spectrum, then huge progress will be achieved as far as mending the relationships between Millennials and other generations, and hopefully putting an end to all those countless misconceptions and stereotypes concerning the Millennials.