Seven reasons millennials will make your workforce

By Shane Conroy

Millennials are set to make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. Here’s why that’s great news for business. 

Millennials are lazy and selfish. They change jobs too quickly. They are not team players. These are all stereotypes that have been used to unfairly characterize the current crop of millennials making their way through the workplace.

However, two recent studies tell a very different story about millennials – broadly defined as people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s – and what they have to offer employers.

The Elance-oDesk 2015 Millennial Majority Workforce study reveals that 68 percent of hiring managers believe millennials have skills previous generations do not. They are perceived to be quick learners, more open to change and more technologically adept than their older colleagues.

And according to the The Deloitte Millennial Survey, they also want to foster innovative thinking, develop their skills and make a positive contribution to society. 

These are all qualities that, contrary to the tired old stereotypes, hold significant value for employers. Here are seven reasons why millennials are vital to your organization’s future.

1. They are open to change

Millennials readily accept change in the dynamic modern workplace, and adapt quickly to new processes. In fact, the 2015 Deloitte study reveals that millennials value new ways of thinking, with about half feeling that the company they work for encourages people to suggest new ways of doing things. Likewise, the Elance-oDesk survey suggests that millennials are well equipped to handle change with more than 60 percent of hiring managers agreeing that millennials are quick to learn.

2. They respond to feedback

Millennials actively seek out feedback about their performance and respond to frequent reviews and debriefing sessions. According to PwC’s The Female Millennial: A new era of talent, 49 percent of female millennials stated a preference for constant or very frequent feedback, and 24 percent want feedback at the end of each project. Only 22 per cent are willing to wait for annual performance reviews.

3. They value innovation 

According to Chip Espinoza, author of Millennials Who Manage, millennial managers will take a new approach to encouraging innovation through shaking up old approaches and inefficient processes. “Millennials are problem solvers,” he says. “They want to improve things, not just defend processes and keep things the same as we’ve been doing over the last 10 years.”

4. They make compromises

Millennials are often vilified as the ‘me-first’ generation, however in reality they are not scared of making compromises and are willing to alter their expectations to account for market conditions. According to research by PwC, 72 percent of millennials made compromises to enter the workforce, with 32 percent accepting a lower salary than they expected, and 17 percent taking fewer benefits.

5. They want to make a difference

Millennials have a strong social conscience and believe businesses should too. According to the Deloitte study, 50 percent of millennials want to work for a business with ethical practices and believe that businesses should do more to address social issues such as resource scarcity (56 percent) and climate change (55 percent). And they will likely take an active role in your organization’s corporate responsibility campaigns, with 43 percent having actively volunteered for a social cause.

6. They are emotionally intelligent

Millennials tend to have higher emotional intelligence (EQ) than past generations and put greater value on relationships in the workplace. And that suits the shift in how we access information, says Deb Henretta, group president of Asia and global specialty channel at Procter & Gamble. “The skills needed in the workforce are going to be less about IQ and a little bit more about EQ, because a lot of IQ knowledge is going to be available at our fingertips through technologies that we have at our disposal.”

7. They want work-life blend

Millennials favour work-life blend over work-life balance. That means rather than keeping a clear distinction between their work and private lives, they favor a more open blend between the professional and the personal. “They don’t mind accessing their work life during their personal life, but they also want to access their personal life during work,” Espinoza says. “Millennials aren’t going to turn off their personal lives for eight hours.” 

Far from conforming to unkind stereotypes, millennials will drive your business forward with their focus on innovation, help you keep pace with the fast-moving business environment with their adaptability, and might even save the world while they’re at it.