It’s time we retire the “Millennials are ruining everything” narrative. Millennials, people who were born between 1981 and 2000, are changing the workforce for the better. The first generation of digital natives is better able to multitask than any previous generation, thanks in part to their exposure from birth to various forms of technology. In fact, research shows that the average Millennial switches media venues 27 times during a nonworking hour, something that translates to better digital literacy in the workforce.
Millennials are the largest generation in American history, totaling 83.1 million people. They also are the fastest-growing generation in the workforce, and the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in history.
There’s a misconception that Millennials are lazy or entitled and therefore don’t contribute to the workforce. The reality couldn’t be more different. Millennials may overwhelmingly support flexible work hours rather than a 9-5, Monday through Friday, 40-hour workweek, but they are also considerably more willing than previous generations to be available outside work hours. In fact, 89 percent of Millennials report regularly checking their work email accounts on their smartphones when they’re not in the office.
The personal habits of Millennials also play into their success. For starters, they sleep almost nine hours a day. Sleep is seen as part of their job, and as a result they are able to show up to work refreshed and ready to tackle the day, unlike older generations who average around seven hours of sleep per night. Millennials also prefer things like lifestyle and work-life balance; they reevaluate priorities on a regular basis and advocate for things like social media freedom.
Millennials are one of the most entrepreneurial-minded generations of recent times. An astonishing 67 percent want to start their own businesses, an indication of being less risk-averse than the previous generation. Additionally, many report that they value having a learning experience over money, regardless of risk.
There are many famously successful Millennials whose risk-taking and hard work has paid off. Mark Zuckerberg is a household name as the founder of Facebook. He sets personal goals for himself in the form of New Year’s resolutions and then works hard to meet them, and his biggest success tip is to be proactive, not reactive. Tracy Chou isn’t exactly a household name, but as a software engineer at Pinterest she’s shattering the glass ceiling for women in the tech industry. Chou’s biggest success tip is to exercise every day, which is great advice for any generation. Michelle Phan founded Ipsy after making her name as a YouTube makeup vlogger. Her biggest success tip is to envision the end result and set goals to reach it. Spencer Penn founded Sweet Bites, a xylitol chewing gum company that aims to reduce tooth decay in kids in developing countries. His biggest success tip is to become comfortable embracing uncertainty.
As Millennials enter the workforce in droves, it’s important to understand how and why they are different in order to help them become a valuable part of the workforce. Embracing their nontraditional ways can help propel your company into the future. Learn more about highly successful Millennials from the below infographic!
ATD invites you to learn how to modernize your training and improve performance outcomes at LearnNow: Modern Learner, Aug. 3-4, Atlanta, GA.