Why I Appreciate Millennial Team Members
by Dave Nieuwstraten
I have mixed feelings about generational segmentation. Much of the discussion can be interesting, though the practicality of it is often lacking. Many of the “that’s so true” responses seem to be on points that to me are as much about life stage as about a generation. I think some of the “truisms” about 25-year-old millennials were probably said about 25-year-olds 60 years ago. Regardless, as an employer I try to pay attention to what people say about the newest entrants into the workplace as we seek to build a productive and effective organization. While not a comprehensive list, here are some of the negatives I’ve read:
- They question company practices if they don’t agree with them.
- They want lots of feedback on their performance.
- They ask for flexible work schedules even though they are new on the job.
- They need to be motivated vs. having a traditional “work ethic.”
- They need an office with lots of entertaining amenities and cool elements.
- They don’t follow through.
Well, what I’ve found to be true is that this “generation” is smart, resourceful, hard-working and appreciates quality. They are team players who help build a healthy office community. I like that they question how things are done and are willing to voice opinions. That’s helped Pivot be better at what we do and how we do it. The same can be true for frequent feedback, which benefits employees and managers. Millennials do enjoy a great office environment, but I love how they are willing to roll up their sleeves and contribute ideas, personality and sweat equity to make it great. Our “young” employees have helped us create a company culture that is truly special. At some point, I’ll try to calculate the value of that combination but overall it has clearly been significant. In regards to work ethic, maybe Pivot is blessed with all the hard working millennials, but they work as hard or harder than anyone else in the office. They do appreciate work flexibility, and there are some challenges that come with that, but they get after it. Another word for this generation is “echo boomers” and I like that much better. I’ve seen their impact “boom” throughout our organization and I wouldn’t trade ours for anything.