Special, sheltered and confident — those three characteristics are among the major traits of Millennials.
Every generation has its own personality—attitudes, behaviors and traits that are shaped by experiences in their formative years. In a generation’s youth, the prevailing cultural, social, and economic environment creates a permanent imprint that lasts a lifetime. This imprint creates signature traits.
For Millennials, there are generally seven of these traits – three of which we’ll address here: special, sheltered and confident. (Watch for next week’s blog post for the other four.)
Members of the Millennial generation were raised believing they are special and important by their parents who kept a close, watchful eye on them.
In addition, Millennials are used to constant or near-instantaneous feedback on their work, thanks to growing up in an era of testing, measuring and ever-faster technology. For managers, this means Millennials in the workplace want faster feedback cycles, more frequent communication on goals and an open-door policy on communication.
It also means mentorship programs are important to them and something they seek out. And companies are responding: A 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey revealed that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of Millennials who had been with their job for 5 or more years had solid mentors in the workplace.
Thanks in part to the 24/7 news era, the parents of Millennials were constantly reminded of the dangers of the world. In response, many Millennials grew up more “sheltered” than previous generations.
With closer relationships to their parents than earlier generations, the economic realities of post-college life for Millennials often means moving back home — back to the place where they felt special, engaged with, wanted and important.
At the workplace, managers of Millennials may take on elements of parenting by taking a more hands-on approach to working with Millennials. Millennials will appreciate managers who give them reachable, incremental goals and rewards for meeting them. Plus, managers should realize that Millennials want to work for someone who “has their back” in the workplace and collaborates with them.
While Millennials like feeling protected and affirmed, they are also quite confident. Those same parents who raised Millennials to feel special and wanted also raised them to believe they could accomplish anything they put their minds to.
Growing up in an era of self-made billionaires (Mark Zuckerberg is a Millennial), participation trophies and the election (twice) of the first black president, Millennials were raised with the attitude that they can achieve anything they put their mind to.
For managers, that means striking a delicate balance between hand-holding and granting independence and leadership opportunities. It also means trusting them to make solid decisions and manage themselves with proper guidance.
Check out the second part in this series on Millennial traits next week.