Having Trouble Communicating? Understanding the Millennial Mindset

By Cara Silletto Founder, Crescendo Strategies | March 19, 2017

Ever wonder what planet your new hires are from? For most, it is called Millennialland. It is my homeland, and it is a whole different world than where Boomers and GenXers were born. So why are your younger workers from this strange land so hard to understand, manage and retain? Why is it that they lack the loyalty of those who came before them? Why do they need so much handholding in the workplace? And where does this tremendous sense of entitlement come from? Allow me to explain.

Feeding the Stereotypes

Now before you get mad about seeing another article that feeds the generational stereotypes, let me assure you that you are right. Generalizing people based on their birth years is crazy! We should stop doing that. Instead, we should get to know each person to determine his/her own individual personality, perspective, and motivators. But, there are reasons we put people into initial buckets by birthyear, and the research does not lie.

There is an undeniable evolution of our society over time. Based on economic shifts, major events, and societal changes, we adjust our perspectives and priorities. Remember when pantyhose were required in the workplace? (Come on…aren't you glad that time has passed, ladies?) Things change. And that means each group born at a different time is likely to hold varying opinions about things such as "professionalism," which is subjective and tends to evolve over time.

Being born in a certain generation does not give everyone in that cohort the same personality. It is more about the fundamental similarities they hold due to the time in which they grew up, and the way their parents raised them.

Think about the Traditionalist workers (born pre-1945). For those who grew up in the shadow of the Great Depression, it is no wonder most of that generation identified stability, safety and security as their top priorities. We have evolved through Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to want other things now that those basic needs have been met for most families in the United States.

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