Millennials in the US are stereotyped as being lazy and unfocused, but the reality is quite contrary. Many employers expect that millennial hires will reflect their stereotypes. They brace themselves to cope with a generation they assume requires coddling and pushing.
In actuality, young talent may just be misunderstood.
According to a recent study conducted by Universum, one stereotype is true of US millennials: they dread “working too much.” This fear is distinctive to millennials in North America, as it was not listed as a primary fear by any of their global counterparts. Breaking down the meaning of this fear and its impact on employers paints a remarkably different image than the “lazy” stereotype presumed.
US Millennials’ fear of “working too much” actually reflects their aversion to merely filling time quotas. They want to work harder, not longer.
Millennials in the US are time-fluid. They place their value emphasis on the quality of work they produce and their ability to be efficient in its creation, not on their ability to elongate projects to satisfy time blocks. They want to shape their schedules around their work objectives rather than vice versa. At the same time though, there is more to the story:
When presented with defined motive and empowerment, US millennials are enthusiastic about putting in extra work.
Through data collection and analysis by Universum, three main motives, outlined below, stand out as particularly advantageous for employers to understand:
In a data report conducted by Universum, 67% of millennials in the US agree to the statement, “I am up for the challenge of being a leader, including extra stress and work time.”
This is fantastic news for employers. It completely discredits the stereotype that millennials are always only counting down to the weekend or their next wanderlust-y adventure. Millennials crave fulfilling projects that they can complete with passion and purpose. They want to make an impact on the world and hope to do so through their work.
Millennials’ laziness and distaste for professional exertion is a myth. This ties into society’s misunderstanding of their fear of working too much.
US millennials want to work hard and do what is necessary to achieve their career goals; they just want the option to carve out extra personal time when they can, and when it won’t be at the expense of their career ambitions.
They want to share their work with their team or managers as soon as it is completed, or even throughout the process of its completion. US millennials appreciate constructive criticism and comprehend its importance in developing and strengthening their skills.
If millennials are given feedback that empowers them to improve their work quality and move confidently toward their objectives, they will be that much more determined in their labors. In fact, of the five top attributes prospective millennial employees look for in a company, feeling empowered is topmost.
As companies begin to understand the fallacies that exist regarding the US millennial workforce and look at real data insights regarding their fears and aspirations, the ones that shape themselves in accordance will ultimately be most successful in procuring the best young talent within their industries.
What this restructuring looks like can vary by employer. Whether it means adding an office rec room, implementing a flexible work-from-home policy, scheduling regular advisory meetings, defining progress paths, or rewarding achievements with paid time off, there are endless measures employers can take, and they will not be for naught.
Think of Google and other companies that have become well known for employee happiness. Companies like this offer their employees endless recreation and leisure perks, while simultaneously motivating them to work productively and zealously. Through data-strategized, people-driven employer branding, they have actually managed to become just as celebrated for their internal cultures as for their actual products and services.
Employers must adapt to an evolving workforce. Millennials are not going away; they are becoming omnipresent. Work culture must transform.
Millennials and the even younger generations in the US will not mold to outdated paradigms. To keep up in their fields by attracting and retaining the talent they need, employers must be the party to reconfigure their principles and expectations.
Universum is the global leader in employer branding. Our services include actionable research, strategic advisory, data-driven communication and social media solutions for talent branding, sourcing, and analytics. A trusted partner to over 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. We work with over 2,000 universities, alumni groups, and professional organizations to gather insights from students and professionals in order to advise employers on how to attract and retain talent that fits their culture and purpose. On an annual basis, Universum surveys over 1,000,000 students and professionals worldwide.