Millennials are the fastest growing segment of workers today, and their numbers are increasing. Traditionalists and Boomers are working longer and the dynamics of the workplace are changing.
Boomer bosses who are married to tradition are managing ambitious Millennials who are out to change and conquer the world. How do we make this work?
Well, since I’m talking about my generation, I thought I could provide some insight into what Millennials would like their Boomer bosses to know.
1) We’re not lazy. There are countless articles and opinions published which paint Millennials as being spoiled by DVR and smartphones. Many Boomers believe Millennials want things their way and in their own time, but without having to work for them. We believe in “working smarter, not harder.” Millennials are master multi-taskers. We like the convenience of being able to send work emails and listen in on a conference call, all while packing up to head to a 5 o’clock yoga class.
2) We are loyal. Boomers tend to equate loyalty with a commitment to stay in the job. Boomers sometimes view Millennials as “flight risks” and constantly jumping from job to job with no sense of loyalty. We are very loyal. We view loyalty as expressed through our dedication to perform our job, but not to pass up better opportunities.
3) We’re not arrogant. Boomers may take offense to having a new associate who is very vocal in meetings. Often times Boomers believe that you have to prove yourself and earn the right to be a voice in the company. That’s exactly what we are trying to do by giving our input and expressing our opinions. Millennials leave college as seniors, only to enter the work force at the bottom of the totem pole. We want to prove that we are capable and a valuable asset to our companies.
4) We value work life balance. Boomers view work as a place you go. Millennials view work as something you do. We value work life balance and like the flexibility of working on the go. We like the option of working while sipping our favorite latte from Starbucks or relaxing poolside. We don’t believe that all work tasks require being chained down behind a desk.
5) We’re not avoiding you. Boomers value face to face communication and are often frustrated with Millennial workers who seem to “hide” behind emails. Millennials often find it easier to send a project update via email and move on to the next item on their to-do list rather than spend time in a meeting. We are so accustomed to texting and emailing that we often lose sight of the value of face to face communication. We have been conditioned this way. In our minds an item is complete when we hit “send”, while our Boomer bosses are waiting for us to come down and physically hand them a report or let them know the task has been completed.
6) We want your feedback. Boomers are often direct and to the point. Boomers have a “this is the way it should be done and that settles it” attitude, this is the way they were conditioned. They are a part of the generation where children were to “be seen, not heard”, and this often reflects in the way they manage others. However, we are accustomed to asking “why” and wanting to chime in. We are also the “gold star” kids. We feed off of positive reinforcement and like to be told when we’re doing a great job. We become very frustrated when there doesn’t appear to be a balance between positive feedback and what we view as criticism.
7) We want to advance quickly. Boomers have always thought of workplace advancement in terms of a “career ladder.” However, we are a bit more ambitious and view things as more of a “career lattice.” We often don’t think we have to take the traditional path. We believe we can move up in our careers through proving ourselves and the quality of our work. Millennials don’t believe that it takes 4 or 5 years on a job for management to recognize that we deserve a promotion. We take initiative and we are constantly seeking opportunities to grow.
8) We are team players. Boomers are known for being a competitive generation. While we see the value in healthy competition, we also understand the power of cooperation. We love to work in teams. We recognize not only can we get tasks done faster, but we enjoy meeting new people and sharing ideas. Millennials understand the power of networking and with social media have been able to make connections that previous generations couldn’t.
9) We know who we are. Many times Boomers equate being younger with trying to find yourself. Contrary to that belief, we have a very strong sense of who we are and what we want to accomplish. Millennials are masters at self-branding. We value individuality and self-expression. We have learned how to market ourselves as brands through Twitter, Facebook. LinkedIn and blogging.
10) We need your help. Although we are very ambitious and independent, we need our Boomer counterparts. No matter how tech savvy we are or how much we google search; there are some lessons best taught by great mentors. Our Boomer bosses have years of knowledge and experience that are valuable to us. It’s the exchange of ideas between us that are going to lead to the continual growth and success of our work.
Monisha Yowell is the Marketing Coordinator for Lawyers Mutual. Monisha connects Lawyers Mutual with our insureds and the legal community through the use of social media. You can reach Monisha at 800.662.8843 or firstname.lastname@example.org.