Millennials: The generation of current or soon-to-be young professionals that is under scrutiny for being the laziest, least committed, most entitled group of people to have ever existed ever.
If you fall into this age demographic like I do, you have heard this criticism a million times. If you don’t fall into this demographic, you might have told a millennial something like this at least once. Maybe you don’t know where you fall and need to take this “How Millennial Are You?” quiz just to be sure (I scored an 83).
Millennials grew up taking their lead from Baby Boomers and Generation X. Now it’s time to turn the tables.
If you’re brave enough to try, here are 8 habits you should steal from Millennials:
1. Believe in the power of you. More than any other generation, millennials are optimistic and believe in the power of their voice to change businesses, government, and the entire world. According to Mashable, 34% of Millennials are likely to make donations either directly or indirectly (via purchasing products that support a cause, through websites such as Sevenly.org). A survey from World Vision shows that 56% of men between the ages of 18-34 have given a charitable donation compared to 36% of men age 35+. While older generations have been through experiences that have left them cynical and distrusting (Watergate, anybody?), the millennial generation hasn’t given up hope when it comes to the idea that they can save the world. Think optimism sounds silly? Learn more about how it can reduce stress, increase your lifespan, and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease here.
2. Ask for feedback and put it to work. Millennials are notorious for wanting constant feedback. Whether that’s because we enjoy learning and improving our performance or because grew up playing video games that were always giving us a score, the truth of the matter is we want to know where we stand at all times. Business Insider points out that this demand for feedback can actually do a company good – having continual conversations about growth, happiness, and performance can ensure a better workplace and eliminate any surprises that management might have to handle later.
3. Give up the hot wheels. There is a great debate over the reasons why millennials don’t care as much about what car they drive, if they own a car, or if they even have their license. While automakers hope the lack of car purchases is due to a lack of financial means, the hard fact remains that millennials just don’t buy cars as much as their predecessors and are more appreciative of public transportation. As gas prices continue to remain high with no end in sight, taking a bus to work or carpooling with a friend could help you save a good chunk of change each month.
4. Rethink how you save and store. While the Millennial generation has already begun to impact big business, no one will feel the blow as much as the banking industry. According to this study, “all four of the leading banks are among the ten least loved brands by millennials.” With the 2008 Housing Market Crisis at least partially to blame, millennials are looking outside of the banking industry and to companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, or PayPal to help change the way we access our money. With such an important industry on the edge of a major renovation, non-millennials’ ability to be flexible and adaptable is key.
5. Embrace the life of a multitasker. There are several arguments against multitasking and the impact it has on the brain as well as one’s quality of work. Still, it seems that millennials just can’t help themselves when it comes to multitasking. Some psychologists say that millennials’ brains are actually wired differently and allow us to process information all at once instead of linearly, like generations before. Studies also show that millennials switch devices 27 times on average every hour. Thankfully, companies are embracing the multitasking life and finding ways to leverage this energy, connectivity, and drive. Whatever your opinion is on multitasking, the truth is it’s not going to stop. My opinion: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
6. Give in to the new green. Although some critics claim the millennial generation is the least concerned about the environment, there is a simple misunderstanding about how our generation goes about environmental sustainability. Generations before tackled environmental issues from a top-down approach, relying on government regulation and nation wide non-profits to handle specific environmental issues. However, in this article by David Weinberger from the Roosevelt Institute, Weinberger notes that, “Millennials view environmental protection more as a value to be incorporated into all policymaking than as its own, isolated discipline. We are concerned with economic growth, job creation, enhancing public health, bolstering educational achievement, and national security and diplomacy. Young people recognize that each of these concerns is inextricably tied to the environment and see environmental health and protection as a means to arriving at any of these outcomes.” This article published by newgeography focuses on the vision of millennials, the support by the Obama Administration and the RICN’s “Blueprint for a Millennial America” which shows that millennials think environmental sustainability starts at a community level. Focusing on your local community allows you to get involved and make a change in your environment now with the support of all of your friends and family behind you.
7. Harness the power of instant information. Millennials probably catch the most flack about our continual uploading and downloading of information. According to this infographic by mediabistro, Facebook users post 2.5 BILLION pieces of content per day. And instead of having debates over the impact of social media excessiveness, I recommend leveraging the power of being able to access information in an instant. Interested in finding a new restaurant for your next hot date? Enjoy the endless amounts of reviews on Yelp.com. Want to figure out what to buy your niece for Christmas? Look at her Facebook page or Twitter feed to see what brands she likes and follows. Having a bad customer experience? Direct message the CEO. Dying to tell your favorite brand how much they mean to you? Tweet them and they just might tweet back.
8. Learn to love collaboration. The world of collaboration has changed drastically in the last 20 years. The millennial generation has transformed the way we work together both virtually and in the workplace. We are a generation that loves to work on a team, appreciates diversity and new ideas, and lives to innovate old processes in exchange for newer, more efficient methods. And this new generation of collaboration isn’t just striving to make work more fun, more inclusive, and more results-based: We are also simultaneously pleasing our boss. Learning to love collaboration and implementing diverse teams will not only motivate us youngsters, it will also help your bottom line.
Share your thoughts and feedback with me!