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Do Millennials Work Hard Enough to Make a Difference?
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Bentley University’s Millennial Preparedness research study raised a number of issues about millennials in the workplace. In the coming weeks, PreparedU, in a series entitled Generational Voices, will present opinions from millennials and non-millennials alike on a wide variety of these issues. These views may contrast or coincide, but each will provide perspective designed to enhance insights resulting from the PreparedU data.
The Millennial Point of View
Abby Connors, Tour Consultant, Education First (EF)
I think I have a strong work ethic, and so do many of my peers. I’m one of four kids, and I’ve grown up having a series of jobs. I worked my way through college, just going and going and never stopping. And my parents were my role models; they both worked full-time to support us. They instilled a real work ethic in their kids.
Today, in my first job after graduating college, I work hard — from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
When we were in college, it’s true we could get away with the bare minimum. But I have to tell you that if I had just gone to classes, I know I wouldn’t be able to make it in my job now, because it requires so much time, effort and concentration.
Still, the work ethic question is valid. People see millennials constantly on their smart phones and they wonder where the real-world focus is. I get that.
But the real world for me was starting my job search several months into my senior year of college. I knew that if I graduated without a job I just wouldn’t be happy with myself.
The Baby Boomer Point of View
Bill Glenn, Chief Marketing Officer, Socrata
I’ve noticed that millennials, on the whole, take charge and want to be part of something bigger.
They are driven because of that.
Most millennials I’ve managed have a “can and will-do” attitude — meaning that they want just enough information to understand the task at hand and then they expect their manager to get out of the way and let them do what they were hired to do.
But it’s equally important that millennials understand how the project ties into a larger department or company goal, otherwise they don’t feel like they’re working on important projects that will move the needle for the business.
In my experience, when millennials don’t get what they want, they know they have options, and so they begin to think about switching employers or change careers. Therefore, it’s ultimately the employer’s responsibility to provide unique and challenging opportunities to millennials and give them the autonomy and recognition they need to feel engaged and valued.
In other words, millennials have no silver spoon, and will work hard, but their sense of loyalty is first rooted in the cause, then the employer.
So, when we look at all the millennial characteristics combined, I believe we may soon witness the greatest generation of fearless entrepreneurs the world has ever seen.
Learn more about Bentley’s PreparedU Project, which examines challenges facing millennial workers, the companies that employ them and the colleges and universities that prepare them.
How can we better prepare millennials for work? We explored the key skills college grads are lacking, and potential solutions for filling those gaps.