Your unique influences and fresh approach to situations are your superpowers. The skills and knowledge that you’ve developed through being a digital native are unique to your generation and businesses are desperate for them. Let’s look at how to recognise and use these powers and you could be the secret weapon for any company!
The corporate world can feel quite remote and even hostile to 25-35 year olds on their way up the ladder. There has been a lot written about the ‘struggles’ of managing your generation, painted as a social media obsessed group who seek constant approval with little respect for authority.
However, the smart organisations are realising that instead of giving you a few concessions about using social media at work, you are not only the future directors and Boards of their companies, but the future customer base too.
You have a lot to offer and they will need to learn how to capitalise on all your ‘differences’ and understand how to work with and sell to you and your peers or fear a place in the history books.
Why are Millennials different?
Let’s look at what being a millennial actually means. The biggest change for you against any other generation before you is the profound impact that technology has had on your lives. It has fundamentally shaped the way you view and interact with the world.
You may not realise it but your technological upbringing means you are UNIQUE.
This is why:
Everything is online. It is your life.
Any restrictions to working online or accessing information in this way will not be tolerated. You expect online conversations, team collaborations and decision making. Contact with people is informal, often over multiple channels at once and without the pressure of authority. You are comfortable seeing yourselves online, in videos and in pictures.
Instant access to more information and data than we can possibly imagine
This has changed the way that you view the role of the older generation. They are not the ‘knowledge givers’ anymore and anyone who tries to use information as power by withholding it will be given short-shrift. You don’t expect anyone to have all the answers and you don’t expect that of yourselves either. The power of the older generation now is in making sense of that information, challenging an opinion or provoking further thought and research.
Constant stream of feedback, comments and opinions
You are used to receiving continual feedback on your progress and seeking approval or direction, often offering it to others too. You want to see a career path and understand clearly how to get there and expect close support and encouragement to do it.
A deep awareness of bigger issues
Climate change, discrimination, social issues; these are all understood on a global level and the role of the individual is clear in your mind. You can be very passionate about these issues and expect organisations to take your role and responsibility seriously too.
A bigger world view that shows that anything is possible.
Examples of people from all countries, in all industries and from all walks of life making a success of their lives serves as inspiration and a baseline for your own dreams. You expect your jobs to offer a rewarding channel for your passions, enthusiasm and energy. You don’t expect a 9-5 and will give your whole selves to a role and company that supports and encourages your dreams.
Customisation is expected
Your general upbringing has been much more tailored to the needs of an individual than any generation before you. The variety on offer in almost every facet of life has meant that someone can pick and choose anything to suit them. Couple that with the extraordinary advances in technology which allow for customisation of everything from trainers to coffee to cars and it’s not surprising that you are a generation which expects options.
Growing up online means a level of transparency and sharing never before seen. The idea of privacy has completely changed and while you are happy to share the most precious moments of your lives with the world, you also guard some aspects of your privacy very carefully. This also means an expectation of transparency in the workplace.
Friends and networks galore
You have bigger networks than anyone else… and you use them. Networks help you get information on anything from the culture and pay at a company to new opportunities which may be out there. You will tend always to try your network first as a source of news, opinions and opportunities. You will often come to a business with a deep understanding (or at least expectation) of the culture. This also means that you expect collaboration at every level and are very comfortable working in teams.
You look for things to innovate, change and improve as a matter of course; you have witnessed nothing but constant change and progress since you were born – you are encouraging of and excited by disruption.
In short, if you look at the main traits that come out of this, you are people who are
- Advocate for change
- Happy to stand up and be counted
That’s a pretty amazing list! You are amazing. AND so valuable to employers. Surely there are not many businesses that would deny the importance of these behaviours in their workforce.
Any business would also benefit from actively encouraging the millennial mindset as part of their operating model.
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As digital natives, the Millennials in the workplace have innate skills which make them passionate, communicative, sociable, ambitious, advocate for change, technology-first and happy to stand up and be counted. But as a millennial yourself – how do you use these skills to your advantage?