The Disconnect
ETS is giving you insight into the largest generation in the workforce with our three part blog series, Generation “Why?”. Throughout the series ETS will provide information on Millennials including who they are and what they want in a job and in their careers. We’ll discuss why they want what they want and highlight some of the disconnects between them and older generations. We will also offer a blueprint of solutions to successfully work with this unique and vital generation. In this second installment, we’ll take a look at the disconnect between what Millennials want and what is currently being offered in the workplace.
Millennials are disruptive, they are disrupting all aspects of life: retail, hospitality, real estate and housing, transportation, entertainment and travel, and they will soon radically change higher education. And of course, they are disrupting the world of work in profound ways. Defined by their lack of attachment to institutions and traditions, millennials change jobs more often than other generations ― more than half say they’re currently looking for a new job. Millennials are changing the very will of the world. So we, too, must change.
Millennials Are SO Different!
Millennials have a different perception of what work is and how relationships between employers and employees should be structured. A study on millennial preparedness for the workplace, published by Bentley University, presents views held about millennials by older workers.

  • More than half of all respondents identified millennials as “lacking respect for others”
  • 70% of those in older generations think millennials aren’t as willing as they should be to “pay their dues”
  • 9 out of 10 millennials think they have a strong work ethic…but 75% of older respondents think it’s less than for previous generations

Millennial’s views on hierarchy and authority are very different than generations that came before them.  They really do have a “blind spot” when it comes to that badge of authority.  Why?
The Self-Taught Generation
Since a very early age, millennials have been identified as having value by those older than them.
The notion that “it’s always been done like this” doesn’t fly with the first “digital native” generation who have been teaching their parents how to use iPhones and computers from a very early age.  In this way, power has shifted. This may be the first generation where the kids are teaching the adults. We’ve all heard the anecdotes.  “The Millennials in my office want to be CEO on their first day of work!” The reality is that it’s not that cut and dried. We’ve raised these kids very empowered.

  • Gen-X managers tend to think “They have to wait their turn, I had to wait and follow the rules, now you do too.” While that’s a very human and normal way to think, it’s not going to be productive in today’s environment.  his new generation is asking for something quite different than what the previous generation had to go through. If you want to keep them, then motivate them and make their work more meaningful and challenging than Boomers made it for you.
  • Business Hierarchy: Millennials challenge many of today’s traditional business practices, so it’s not surprising that they are also disrupting corporate leadership (Traditional top down and middle management style). Millennials want to contribute to a company’s growth and be rewarded for it, regardless of their position. When asked to draw an “organization,” they envision a circle where information, authority, decision making and rewards are shared.
  • When Millennials hear “Just do what I say because that’s the way we do it” they think “Why?” They aspire to be collaborative, empowering and transformational leaders in the workplace.

Continue to part 3 of our Generation “Why?” series: Solutions Blueprint