Understanding Millennials

Each generation is described in sweeping generalizations. Some of the generalizations are fairly accurate but others are not. Recently I’ve heard a lot of negative talk about the newest generation entering the workforce. Now, it’s time to embrace the generation called Gen Y or more commonly, millennials.    

One of the first principles we must consider when working with millennials is that they are typically driven by passion. Studies show that 50% or more of millennials will pay more for a product if they know that their purchase will support a cause. They will often agree to less pay if they are passionate about their work and the organization. What does this mean to you as a business selling a product or as an employer? Show your client or employee WHY they should be passionate about your organization. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort on your part, but the benefits will come back to you in both sales and loyalty.

Next, keep in mind that millennials are twice as likely to be tech savvy. What? They can help you with your newest smart phone? They can automate some of your systems so that your inventory is tracked more efficiently? Consider all that ways your organization could benefit from having a team of employees who are sophisticated in technology. Don’t let your pride keep you from learning from them. Being born after 1977, millennials can’t remember a time before computers and we still want a Big Chief Tablet and a Number 2 Pencil.

Do you struggle with change initiatives? Guess what? The majority of millennials crave adventure. A change initiative is nothing more than an adventure in making changes within your organization. How mind blowing will it be when you have 25% or more of your team comprised of millennials who treat your change initiative as an adventure rather than another way to ruin life? My experience is that at some point in a career, employees of previous generations need to be convinced to hop on board with the suggested changes. Millennials are good at motivating others to change. As a leader, the smartest thing you can do is share with a millennial the important “why” of the initiative and he/she can be your best advocate for the change.  

Three simple things to keep in mind when it comes to millennials:

  1. Motivated by passion
  2. Sophisticated knowledge of technology
  3. Crave adventure that can help change initiatives 

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