By 2025 millennials will make up over 75% of the workforce, according to Pew Research. That’s less than five years from now. But as they grow in great numbers, they’ve got a bad reputation to contend with.
A Millennial (born between 1980-1998) and a multigenerational workforce strategist, Amber Aziza is the founder and CEO of AAE Corporation, an international organization dedicated to helping businesses engage multi-generational workforces, accelerate their growth and maximize their profits.
Aziza has heard a lot of negativity when it comes to millennials in the workplace. One of the first things her team does when working with a new company is to ask their leadership a few key questions. One of those questions is: “What words come to mind when you think of Millennial employees?” They’re quick to respond with less than flattering answers, like “lazy” and “tech-obsessed.”
While many list qualities they see as detriments, Aziza encourage leaders to see them as workplace superpowers to be leveraged. Here’s how to take the qualities millennials possess and turn them into your company’s secret weapon.
Millennials Aren’t Lazy, They’re Innovative
The millennial generation that grew up with way more shortcuts than any other generation before them. This means that what baby boomers and Gen X’s may view as “lazy,” millennials look at as working smarter and not harder. “This becomes your superpower in that the millennials in your workforce will always find the most efficient way to complete a project,” notes Aziza. “That 20-step auditing process you’ve used for the last 30 years will be simplified to a shorter eight to 10-step process once you put it in the hands of your millennial employees. Same outcome, shorter and easier process.
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“Millennials were brought up in the age of Google which taught us that we can find out the answer to any question we have in a matter of seconds. Why on Earth would we take the longer, harder, route just because that’s the way it’s always been done? What’s perceived as lazy is really innovation! Give them projects that are traditionally complex and convoluted and allow them to help you create a more efficient, cost-reducing, and timely process.”
Millennials Aren’t Tech-Obsessed, They’re Tech-Savvy
“So many workforces scrambled when COVID-19 hit as they struggled to figure out how to transition their entire workforce to remote workers. The ones that didn’t struggle? Were the ones who trusted their millennials to lead the charge,” says Aziza.
“This is another example of your millennials being able to pull you into the modern age. Technology is advancing faster than it ever has before and no one is more prepared to integrate it into your current day-to-day operations than your millennials are. From the gamification of training departments to using AI during recruitment processes, this generation is leveraging their tech-obsession and moving companies leaps and bounds ahead of their competitors.”
Millennials Aren’t Spoiled, They’re Your Support System
“Yes, millennials were raised in an “everybody gets a trophy” environment. This was the first generation to be rewarded for just showing up and being present. Unfortunately, it’s now manifested itself in the workplace as having a sense of entitlement or a desire to be promoted just for showing up to work. But this can actually be a good thing,” reminds Aziza.
“By collaborating with millennials in redefining the company culture and employee engagement processes, you’ll enable them to take their so-called ‘sense of entitlement’ along with the company’s desired output and build a process and a culture that makes everyone feel supported and rewarded when they show up at their full capacity. They can bridge the gap to the next generation.”