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Millennials-the misunderstood generation?

Its time to stop thinking 'them vs us'. We are all the future of  business and industry whether Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millenial, Post-millenials, Lizard illuminati ...whatever!

Pointing out the differences in order to decide who is better or worse is missing the point entirely. Yes we are all different from our parents generation but one individual is different to the next regardless of generation. We must be adaptive and inclusive even if it feels uncomfortable; you can't stop the march of progress so why not get involved-be part of the change, steering it in a positive direction.

I was at the seminar this article was based on and much of the feedback was around the frustration that millennials don't stay around in one job for long. I tried to explain that it's not a choice, its a need. If your living expenses are high, you are saving for a near impossible mortgage deposit etc. you can't hang around one company waiting to be recognised and rewarded-you have to move on when opportunities arise. Millennials joined the world of work during a recession and as such (I may potentially be biased here...) most millennials don't know the meaning of laziness despite the stereotype of being entitled.
I myself have worked 7 days a week to pay the rent while I was starting my career, and I'm certainly not the only one. To me this is not a 'class' issue either, I was raised in a middle class home and had friends at school from varying degrees of wealth from poor working class up to well off and we are all on much the same economic level now and all have similar strong work ethics.
So...let's recognise and reward the next generation instead of excluding or stereotyping-they will be the bosses soon!
Does anyone else have thoughts about the codification of the generations and the implications for HR?
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  • Hi Alice, 

    I completely agree with you - it's nonsense. Lazy stereotyping at best. I've been fortunate enough to work with a wide range of colleagues in a wide range of settings over the years, they ranged from amazing to poor, from driven to seriously lazy and yet age or generational identity had absolutely no bearing what so ever on any of this.

    The head of digital learning where I work is in her 50s, she knows more about digital tech and social media than most of "millenials".

    I think there is an element of shifting blame for organisational failings on to a generational imperative to shift jobs which shows a lack of intraspection on the part of the business world. 

    Whether people like it or not the world has changed drastically over the last few decades. Jobs exist now that didn't exist 10yrs, 5 yrs ago. With this rate of change is it any wonder people look to move jobs and learn more skills, diversifying their knowledge and experience and following their interests?

    To me this almost reflects a difference in mindset. Those deemed to have a millennial mindset are demonstrating a growth mindset which enables them to identify and take advantage of opportunities, as opposed to an old fashioned closed mindset where people find a job and stay put.

    The notion of employees regularly moving jobs being a problem doesn't sit well with me. I've worked in some places where employees have worked all their lives. It's not a good place to be, often siloed,  with no new ideas or fresh thinking coming in. Alternatively I've worked in areas where there is a healthy flow of employees, these places have been rich, vibrant and full of innovation as new people bring new ideas, experiences and view points to the business.

    I believe that technology has, and will continue to be, a disruptive force in the workplace. Those familiar and comfortable with it have learned to question everything, knowing they can go online to find answers, critically analyse what they're told, find alternative views, and as Casey Gerald puts it in his amazing TEDtalk 'The gospel of doubt', realise "there must be another way" https://youtu.be/DsrxbqFo41k



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