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Debunking Millennial Employee Myths

Posted on July 14, 2015 by Tom Halligan - Also by this author

Daniel Newman debunks common myths about the Millennial generation at the LCT Leadership Summit in Miami Beach.
Daniel Newman debunks common myths about the Millennial generation at the LCT Leadership Summit in Miami Beach.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Finding and keeping professional chauffeurs and operational staff is a leading challenge for operators, especially since the economy has improved with more employment opportunities and increases in job hopping.

The make-up of the U.S. workforce is changing, as Millennials (those born between 1982 and the 2000), will comprise 50% of the workforce by 2020 and a whopping 75% by 2030. Millennials, of course, have been the target of media stereotypes that lump them all together as a generation of lazy, unmotivated slackers who feel entitled and spend too much time glaring at their smartphones.

However, Daniel Newman, best-selling author and co-founder of V3B and Broadsuite Media Group, says the common negative perception of Millennials, now at ages 18 to 34, is not accurate. Speaking before attendees at a packed session at the May 17-19 LCT Leadership Summit in Miami Beach, Newman told operators that Millennials have different priorities in certain areas but “place much the same weight on many of the same career goals as older employees do.”

Considering operators will be hiring more and more Millennials en masse from now on, it’s important to know how they tick to ensure you are equipped to manage, motivate and retain them as long-term employees. In fact, Millennials this year are projected to surpass the once massive Baby Boomer population as the largest generation in the U.S., according to Pew Research Center.

Newman’s talk focused on dispelling common myths about Millennials, as well as their differences and preferences compared to GenX and Baby Boomers. However, Newman pointed out one alarming finding: More than 60% of Millennials already have changed jobs and 91% don’t foresee themselves in the same position in three years. He noted they are “seeking to make regular changes that give them exposure to new opportunities.”

Other key Millennial findings:

• 90% would prefer to work at a time of their choice as opposed to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
•50% would take flex time or vacation over increased pay.
• 56% won’t even work for a company that doesn’t allow employees to use social media.
• 95% are more motivated to perform when they know where they are headed (feedback).

In addition, Newman pointed out that Millennials want a manager who is ethical and fair trumping a boss who recognizes their accomplishments. They also are the most highly educated generation in history. Using technology 24/7 for business, pleasure, networking and socializing is embedded into their DNA. However, for companies that are behind the tech curve, the good news is that Millennials can implement and manage new cutting-edge technologies.

Myth Busters

According to a recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value, the differences among Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer employees have been grossly exaggerated. The multigenerational, global study of employees from organizations large and small compared the preferences and behavioral patterns of Millennials with those of Gen X and Baby Boomers.

Surprise — the results discovered that Millennials want many of the same things their older colleagues do. While there are some distinctions among the generations, Millennial attitudes are not poles apart from other employees.

The research debunks five common myths about Millennials and exposes three “uncomfortable truths” that apply to employees of all ages (see above).

Diverse and Technologically Astute

According to an October 2014 report on Millennials conducted by the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, they are the first generation to have had access to the Internet during their formative years and are the most diverse and educated generation in history. Some 42% identify with a race or ethnicity other than non-Hispanic white, twice the share of the Baby Boomer generation when they were the same age.

When it comes to work, Millennials resemble other generations. They want to succeed and prosper so their children will be better off. Compared to previous generations, Millennials consider creativity to be an important job feature than do other generations, but like all workers, they want interesting jobs with advancement opportunities.

Overall, the study concludes that Millennialls are a technologically connected, diverse, and tolerant generation that values creativity and innovation, while their “unprecedented enthusiasm for technology has the potential to bring change to traditional economic institutions as well as the labor market.”

Considering the private transportation industry is facing major competitive disruption from technology-based TNCs, coupled with the industry’s need to implement technology throughout their operation to compete and succeed, hiring Millennials may be a competitive difference.

Common myths about millennials that the study debunks:

Myth 1: Millennials’ career goals and expectations differ from those of older generations.

Fact: Millennials place much the same weight on many of the same career paths as older employees do. They want to make a positive impact on the organization, help solve social and/or environmental challenges, and work with a diverse group of people.
• • • • • •
Myth 2: Millennials want constant acclaim and think everyone on the team should get a trophy.

Fact: Millennials want a manager who’s ethical, fair, transparent and readily shares information.
• • • • • •
Myth 3: Millennials are digital addicts who want to do — and share — everything online, without regard for personal or professional boundaries.

Fact: MIllennials’ top three preferences (in order) for learning new skills at work are physical and virtual:

1. Attend a third-party sponsored conference/event
2. Attend in-person classroom training
3. Work alongside knowledgeable colleagues.
• • • • • •
Myth 4: Millennials, unlike their older colleagues, can’t make a decision without first inviting everyone to weigh in.

Fact: Gen X, even more than Millennials, believes in seeking many opinions.
• • • • • •
Myth 5: Millennials are more likely to jump ship if a job doesn’t fulfill their passions.

Fact: Employees of each generation share the same reasons for changing jobs. The top reason is more money and a more creative workplace.

My Generation 2015
Millennials: 75.3 million, ages 18-34
GenX: 55 million, ages 35-50
Boomers: 74.9 million, ages 51-69
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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