Let’s try something: Close your eyes and picture your grandfather in his 20s or 30s as he was described to you throughout the years in various family stories. More than likely, you envision him as an industrious man, dedicated to his employer, possibly a serviceman, devoted to his country, and someone who believed in hard work and loyalty, no matter the cost to lifestyle or family time.
Now picture a millennial. What do you see? Are the same images and sentiments of a diligent and dedicated individual conjured when you hear that term? Likely, they aren't. The stereotypes that follow millennials these days are often associated with a generation of young people that want more from their companies – and life in general – but often lack the allegiance to employers that generations before them prided themselves on. Perhaps it isn't that they lack the characteristics required to stay at one company for the long haul, but that the companies of today are lacking the characteristics to retain them. Indeed, millennials want more, but is that truly a bad thing?
It doesn't take much for a passionate discussion to ensue when you mention the word "culture," but throw in the term "millennials," and you have added fuel to the proverbial fire. In today's day and age of startups, tech advancements and companies that are truly thinking outside the box, these two terms are the buzzwords to end all buzzwords.
However, though they are hot topics today, that does not mean they hold less value for strengthening the companies of tomorrow. For many companies, finally acknowledging the undeniable necessity of a healthy company culture is resulting in rapid success.
Highly educated and skilled
Millennials are the most educated generation to enter the workforce, and they are continuously advancing their skills throughout their careers. Their intimate understanding of technology – having been born into a time when advancements in the world of technology seemed to be happening on a daily basis – have allowed them unprecedented advantages over the men and women in the current workforce.
Ushering in the newest generation of employees also means getting fresh perspectives, opening the door to innovative thinking and untapped areas of success. For millennials, often known to be "out-of-the-box thinkers," their actionable strategies fall in line with a major portion of today's market. Their unique understanding of social media and technology assists companies in reaching targeted groups of consumers faster than ever before.
Team Driven and motivated
Another interesting characteristic of the millennial workforce is their open-minded mentality to working in teams for the success of a project. With the unprecedented amount of school activities and team sports, children of the millennial generation are accustomed to working side by side with others.
Finally, though many feel that the millennial generation has done away with company loyalty, perhaps it's worth evaluating what is happening beneath the surface. It's true: Millennials are not blindly following their first employer to the age of retirement like the baby boomer generation. However, their reasons certainly hold some validity. The newest generation to enter the workforce is looking for more than just a paycheck.
They want to be involved, trusted and valued within their company, with leaders that educate and recognize their strengths. Millennials seek a balance in life. They are continuously looking to grow, both professionally and personally. In short, millennials are looking for exceptional company culture. And studies have shown that when they find that, they are more likely to exhibit the type of company loyalty so many expect of them.
At the end of the day, companies will decide which avenue is best for them. With more millennials than baby boomers today, the workforce will quickly be saturated with the newest generation. While there will always be an air of guarded caution with something unknown or new, it's important to stay focused on the objectives of success – for the company and the employees who work every day to achieve it.