Millennials at work: generation destroying the workplace as we know it

Since the beginning of time, every generation has complained about the younger one. This is nothing out of ordinary. However, the so-called millennials that are currently entering the job market caught a lot of attention. Millennials were called the generation of lazy, self-centred and entitled quitters. Mostly, their features were blamed on bad parenting and overwhelming presence of technology. At least, that is what the media has been trying to make people believe.

There are no definite timeframes, some say that millennials are those born between 80s to early 2000s. Most typically however, the focus is on the millennials born between 1994-2000.
In 2006, psychologist Jean Twenge described the millennial generation as “Generation Me”, showing traits of confidence but also entitlement and narcissism. These characteristics have a massive impact on the workplaces. What distinguishes millennials from the previous generations is the preference towards a flat corporate structure and most importantly work-life balance. The millennials are said to pursue career satisfaction in meaningful and purposeful jobs, which would also allow for creativity. Whereas the generations preceding (Baby Boomers and so-called Generation X) were mostly focused on steady career life, advancement in the corporate hierarchy and overall job satisfaction.

Millennials nowadays compose a large part of the workforce. Irrespective of their bad reputation, employers must adjust to the changes and take into account the specific needs of their prospective employees. This generation is often viewed as job-hoppers. Whilst it is not necessarily always the case, there is a grain of truth in that statement. With the rapid changes in the market, millennials are not as attached to a specific workplace as the generations before them. When a job does not satisfy this purpose-driven employees or ceases to make room for development, millennials often quit and pursue another opportunity. It is not the fresh fruits, casual Fridays or relax zones in the offices that the millennials are craving. The millennials needs are much more similar to the previous generations than we thought. Learning and development was one of the key elements that they are looking for in a job. What also matters is the regular feedback and recognition for good performance. In accordance to the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019 , millennials are no less ambitious than previous generations. However, their aspirations altered. Having children, buying houses, getting married are no longer the signals of adult’s success. Instead, travelling and seeing the world as well as making a positive impact in their communities landed the top of the list.

As soon as millennials dominate the workforce, the employers will have no other choice than to adjust and reshape workplaces, otherwise the future of work could be jeopardised. But there is a silver lining – the changes they crave may be changes for the better.