Understanding Millennials: Work-Shy Millennials Told To “Grow Up!” 

By  Henry Rose Lee

Understanding Millennials: Work-Shy Millennials Told To "Grow Up!"
‘Work shy’ millennials told to ‘grow up’ as report suggests they’re ill-equipped for jobs…

Are you kidding?! Not this old chestnut again!!

(Henry Rose Lee writing about an article by Joel Leaver https://twitter.com/JoelMLeaver in https://www.dailypost.co.uk/ – To Read : CLICK picture…)

Millennials – aged 23 to 38 today – are NOT entitled or work-shy. They are human and they are simply growing up, just like every human of the same age will be doing in future, and has done in the past.

The problem with these interviews about today’s young employees is that they are too simplistic, and based on personal preference and hazy memory, rather than on real-world thinking.

So here’s some real-world thinking for you – based on the UK but with lessons for all of us globally.

Understanding Millennials  Tip #1:

The majority of young people lack self-confidence and personal resilience. Usually, they learn both with good parenting, good education, good community and a good job. These things come with age and experience. When Nina Myskow was their age, she could have felt the same way as they do today. The difference is that her insecurities and gaffes were not plastered all over social media or in some viral rant.

Today, young people are more exposed and more exploited than ever, in epic proportions, due to the spread and reach of the internet and its tools (Twitter, Youtube, Instagram etc. etc.).

They may look more stupid and more entitled but that’s because every move gets pored over, uploaded and judged in the mean, myopic, polarised public view. Emotional intelligence – which helps us to be resilient, to package messages, to deal with conflict and to be a “grown-up” – comes with age, and so it’s not as well-developed in people under 40 as it is in say, people over 60 (like Nina M).

Understanding Millennials Tip #2

Education in the UK is better and more in-depth than ever, but – as the article points out – it may need to deliver more practical learning too, perhaps around managing personal finances, (rent, food, leisure), learning how to save, dealing with work relationships etc. And rather changing the curriculum – which seems to happen more and more frequently as successive UK governments tinker with it – we could be looking at improved teacher training, again around helping to build resilience, personal independence and a community ethic.

Too often we look to our teachers to parent our children when we – as parents – should be doing that already. Too often teachers are told to learn how to spot signs of child abuse or neglect or depression. If that’s what you want from your teachers, you’ll need more of them and you’ll need better training.

Understanding Millennials Tip #3:

There is never enough money for education, health or defence. In the past, with lack of funds people simply remained uneducated, died, or were cannon fodder – and that was less than 100 years ago. Now, we save more lives, keep people living longer, educate more people to a higher standard, and try not to go to war anywhere (we don’t have enough tanks, ships or ammo). Given this lack of funds, education is unlikely to keep up with the pace of change, which should be its real reason for being.

In 2018, Lloyds Banking Group confirmed the loss of more than 6,000 jobs, (annulled or outsourced) and also the creation more than 8,000 new positions, mostly using current staff – and mostly around technology and digital jobs.

The world is going digital and education needs funds, teacher training, new teachers and new, digital aids to keep up. If you want an effective workforce in the 2020s, invest in education that will help that to be delivered.

Understanding Millennials Tip #4:

Parenting is not worse or better than in the past. And it won’t be better or worse than in the future. 100 years ago in the UK, most children left school at 10 or 14, and went to work in shops, factories, mines, dockyards and the fields. Their parents had to be tough on them to make sure they earned money for the unit. Parents – who are today aged 74 to 94 (known as the Silent Generation) – lived through two world wars and that made them feel lucky to be alive and grateful for a job – no matter what. Parents – who are today aged 55 to 73 (Baby Boomers)- lived through post-war rationing, technological and infrastructure boom and globalisation; they also had the format of parenting from the Silents, but used their “modern” view and technology to do things differently.

Parents – aged today between 39 to 54 (Generation X) – lived through boom and bust and totally global comms, media, travel and opportunities, and that’s softened their parenting even more and given them a different world view. Millennial parents are also shaped by these previous generations. Either no one is to blame for parenting. or we all are. I guess you choose which (and that choice will show just how emotionally intelligent you are). Today, we don’t send children out to work early, (although when they do earn money online, that’s great – and I have two nieces who have done very well selling vintage clothes (from the 1980s and 1990s – big sigh!) – through Depop and eBay).

Parents and their children all use smartphones, iPads, and computer-based cars to get around and live their daily lives And when I’m running any workshop, I notice that workers of all ages are glued to, and ruled by, their mobile phones. At work, whether they are 60, 40 or 20, they have FOMO or Nomophobia. Young people are not to blame for the changes in communication that we all face. Just like older people are not to blame for not being able to keep up with the frantic pace of technological and digital change. It’s a race for us all, parents and children.

Understanding Millennials Tip #5:

Organisations are also on the list for an overhaul. If parenting needs to improve – perhaps asking for all devices to be switched off when the family sits down at a table for dinner – and if education needs to keep up, then companies too, need to support the changed ways of working that our new tech now makes possible. We can all work – across time zones or geographies- but we all still need connections and interactions face-to-face, and a tribe or a group of people to call friends – whether we’re at work or home. So it’s a balance of old and new, that’s called for.

A bricks and mortar environment for most organisations will help to provide that sense of community, as will high-tech, digital platforms like webex, bluejeans (other brands are available) and online platforms. Add WhatsApp to email and text. Position Instagram as an additional tool to your website. All of these can be used in the workplace to produce a sense of purpose and of belonging. Don’t just blame younger workers because they have been brought up to use new tech. Instead, invest in new tech in your company, and maximise its use with mentoring and reverse mentoring – so that older and younger workers learn from each other.

And PLEASE stop talking about Millennials as if they are snowflakes, or older generations as if they’re past their sell-by date! Don’t you get it?! We are all on this beautiful planet together. We need to work together to save it, and to help all generations communicate, and be productive. We are all at fault. We are all to blame. And we are all wonderful, with the potential for great things. It’s our choice. Choose wisely.

Like this post, and would like to understand your workplace Millennials better? Then book me to speak at your organisation here

Henry Rose Lee, Intergenerational Expert.

About the author

Henry Rose Lee

Henry is a recognised authority on Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers in the workplace. She helps businesses to recruit, engage and retain their younger employees, and helps individuals to ignite their talents and carve out an outstanding career, whatever their age.

Through her keynote speeches, workshops and coaching, you will understand the evolution of leadership in what is sometimes called ‘the Shift Age’, so you can avoid common pitfalls and help your organisation (and yourself) to thrive.

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