Are Millennials Perceived In A Negative Light?

Posted by Melissa Meunier on Fri, Sep 05, 2014 @ 11:00 AM

millennial, generation Y, information

Managing the generations in the workforce is a topic of discussion in many companies today, from how to engage the younger generations to ways the generations can work together.  Although it is important to understand the unique needs of this generation and the others, uncovering the perceptions and the truth about Generation Y (millennials) might make it easier for leaders to prepare themselves as this new generation enters the workforce.

Ladan Nikravan of clo.com interviewed Patty Prosser, chairman of leadership consultancy at OI Global Partners about the perception of Gen Y’s in the workplace.  Prosser offered her introspect into the concerns employers and millennial employees are facing in the workforce today and in the future. 

The two significant issues that Prosser feels are stacked against millennials are that graduates appear to be repeating the same job-search mistakes of their predecessors and the generation is not being given a chance because of their elder employer perception.

Perceptions of Generation Y:

The overall perception is that millennials don’t share the same dedication to their jobs as the other generations and have less-polished communication and social skills.

  • Millennials tend to make their work-life balance a priority instead of their careers.  This group values a separation between their personal lives and loyalty to their jobs.
  • Many millennials do not have good written, verbal or presentation skills. Employers also feel that many of them lack the ability to communicate with other generations, including customers and co-workers.
  • Employers are apprehensive because they do not think millennials have the social skills necessary to interact with clients and will perform below par in face-to-face meetings.

Considering that 4.6 million unemployed workers in the nation are Generation Y, millennials have their work cut out for them if they are going to prove the perceptions false.

Overcoming the employer bias:

Prosser suggests millennials need to familiarize themselves with potential employers’ doubts and be prepared to proactively address them by:

  • Improving their written and verbal communications skills.
  • Building relationships with other generations in the workplace by finding common ground.
  • Demonstrating how they can add value to customers
  • Expressing a willingness to put in extra hours to help businesses achieve their goals.

Truth is, there are always going to be differences between each of the generations in the workforce. But it’s the leaders that understand those differences and the employees who are willing to set them aside that will have the most success.

Topics: Employee Engagement, generational expectations, Millennials, leadership, Gen Y

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