Millennials have been in the workplace for quite some time, but there are still some older workers who hold negative views of their younger coworkers. It’s no surprise that Millennials have a reputation for being a bit difficult, thanks to their “Me, me, me!” mentality, but not every Millennial fits that description. In order to bring the best of what Millennials have to offer, while also disproving the negative stereotypes, here are some tips on how to set yourself apart.
Millennials have a reputation for not respecting traditional hierarchy in the workplace. Some older workers complain that this younger generation of workers expects to walk in on their first day and get a corner office, something older generations had expected to work for years to achieve.
Yet younger workers are advancing faster in their careers than older generations have experienced, according to Jennifer McClure, president of leadership strategy firm Unbridled Talent in Cincinnati, which is, quite naturally, something that is somewhat disturbing to older workers.
To keep the peace at work, and to prove that you’re a team player, it’s advised that you make an effort to include older generations in projects you’re working on. For instance, you could take a report to an older coworker and ask them to look it over and give their take. That way they feel as if you respect their input, plus everyone enjoys giving advice. “Most people want to offer advice, and they feel flattered when they’re asked for it,” explained Marcelle Yeager, president of Career Valet, a professional coaching firm based in Washington, D.C.
Generation X and Baby Boomers love to say that because Millennials were famously awarded participation trophies, they want to be rewarded for doing things they’re supposed to do anyway. It’s one of the reasons Millennials are stereotyped as constantly seeking positive reinforcement, even when they haven’t really done anything to deserve it. In reality, according to Yeager, most Millennials are just looking for more feedback from their supervisors.
One way to disprove this stereotype is to go to your manager and specifically ask for more constructive criticism. Make sure to emphasize that receiving this constructive feedback is important for you to make sure you’re doing everything that needs to be done to your manager’s satisfaction.
Millennials were the first generation to really grow up with the internet and their reliance on technology and social media specifically have earned them a reputation for being easily distracted by technology. Many people assume that because of Millennials’ familiarity with technology, that means they’re going to be less focused on work.
Use this familiarity with technology to prove that keeping up with social media trends can positively impact the workplace. For instance, if you check Twitter, make sure to bring up trending topics you’ve found that impact your specific industry.
Yet another stereotype about Millennials is that they often hop from job to job. This gives employers the impression that Millennials don’t have job loyalty or the determination it takes to work your way up from an entry-level job to the top of the ladder. In 2016,a Gallup poll found that 21% of Millennials had changed jobs within the last year, which is three times the level of non-Millennials.
There’s a reason for the mass exodus of Millennial workers, though. Many of them seek new opportunities with other companies because they afford them a chance to move up on the ladder at a much higher pay rate. According to research by Wharton management professor Matthew Bidwel, employers pay external hires an average of 18-20% more than internal promotions.
For Millennials who want to prove their job loyalty, staying on the job for at least a year will show prospective employers that you are committed to the job, according to Yeager. You should also make sure to prepare for the inevitable questions about why you only stayed at your last job for a year or less.