In part one of our ongoing exploration into the myths and realities of managing Millennials in the workforce, we explore the drive and motivation behind work ethics and the constant desire to look beyond the nine-to-five grind.
Myth: Millennials have no work ethic.
Millennials are often seen as being lazy and unwilling to work the necessary hours to advance their careers. They don’t take the time to look around and figure out what their next task is, and managers find themselves having to check back in and assign additional work. As the manager of a Millennial employee, this can be frustrating, but understanding why it’s happening can help you and your employee set mutual expectations for success.
Reality: Millennials prioritize work differently.
For most Millennials, work is not necessarily about pushing onward to further their long-term career. It’s frequently viewed as something they do between weekends to earn reliable spending money. It’s not that Millennials aren’t entirely interested in promotions, earning higher titles, and advancing their careers. In many cases they are, but they prioritize work differently than older generations.
Having less money is often considered a reasonable tradeoff for more free time among this generation, which puts a high premium on striking the right balance between their work and personal lives. While work ethic may appear to be reduced as a result, Millennials are just keen on getting the tasks at hand completed quickly so they can go home. This makes them motivated and focused – something you as an employer can use to your advantage.
An inherent creative streak also pushes many Millenials away from the standard corporate career trajectory in favor of a path that allows more flexibility and inventiveness. This spurs them to be more entrepreneurial in spirit and willing to strike out to explore career opportunities beyondthe dusty old models. Many are keen to start their own businesses too, skipping out on the traditional corporate trek altogether.
Socializing among colleagues and injecting moments of fun into long workdays is another big priority for Millennials. A humorless day can be a real drag, which is why Generation Y is keen on spicing the day up by adding lighthearted moments to keep spirits high and co-workers socially engaged. While this can sometimes come off as a lax work ethic, it fulfills another important element that can be missing in the office: Morale.
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