Tech Savvy. Confident. What's Not To Like About Millennials?

Being born amid a time of unprecedented technological flux, millennials, or Gen Y, are tech-mobile, natural early adopters, welcoming and embracing e-progress as symbiotic to their existence.

A world without internet….?

But whilst Gen Y has been bombarded with tech to the point of what could be construed as a rare example of positive indoctrination. Take the Evolution of Apple – the volume of products launched since 2000 in particular would make it very difficult to state confidently in which year each slightly new iPod variation was launched, for example. GenZ ‘don’t remember a world without the internet and smartphones’ – and all this impacts on how you hire, onboard and develop individuals. The article on Forbes ‘How to make your workplace ready for GenZ’ raises some interesting points.

You’re one in a million

Their absorption in technology spawns certain character traits, which inform the millennials’ social confidence. Broadly speaking, these seem to be interpreted as impatience or flightiness by older observers. These traits are simply a product of the times in which they’re born; if things are available now, why should I wait before I can get them? Some will sagely nod and observe that based upon conventional wisdom, the much reported tendency of millennials to not remain in jobs for long enough could harm their future prospects, due to a perceived lack of loyalty or reliability. This is definitely true to a certain extent, although I would also contend that personality traits such as loyalty and reliability are specific to each person and can most reliably be measured by using psychometrics and not via opinion or conjecture.

It’s the atmosphere you create

Indeed, the actions of one or many may not always be representative of everyone. It depends on where the sample of people is drawn from. For example, when a company complains that a large number of their young workers are not remaining with them for long, the easy option is to brand this group as #lazymillennials.

However, according to the findings of the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018 GenY and even more so GenZ are looking for ‘leaders whose decisions might benefit the world—and their careers.’ What should be happening is that the organisation takes a long hard look at its culture, values and ethos:

  • Is it inspiring to work there?
  • Are there challenging projects for them to be exposed to?
  • Is the company innovative and fostering creativity?

In other words, it’s irrelevant if your company manufactures or offers what would be perceived as a fairly mundane product or service. It’s not about what you make; it’s about the atmosphere you create. ‘61% of GenZ say they would leave within two years if given the choice’. Remember, anything can be exciting. It’s all about the thought that has gone into preparing it.

Recruit the right people in the right way

Equally important is the recruitment programme. 80% of The Forbes 500 companies and 75% of the Times Top 100 use psychometric testing (learning styles and personality assessments). This is positive news to some extent; this next point may appear obvious but it is surprising how often it can occur – it should be noted that the tests need to be used in the correct way (matched up to the job specification) and vitally, at the correct stage of the recruitment process. New research from ThriveMap suggests that ’71% of respondents would be happy to take an honest and reality-based job assessment.’

If this step is not taken and the correct test is not integrated at the most opportune point, it could lead to inappropriate hires, people working in roles not maximising their strengths or, worse still, the right people not being hired in the first place. For example, Critical Thinking skills have been shown to be more predictive of performance than A Levels or Degree Class (Watson Glaser Predictive Validity Studies) but if they are not being measured in the correct way for instance with the Watson & Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, with the most appropriate tests, then boats will be missed.

The future is embracing all generations

To finish, millennials and GenZ receive a great deal of bad press, but this is abating. This is probably partly because we can now relate to GenY slightly more – GenY is growing up and GenZ taking their place, but also because businesses are starting to see the benefits of marrying together all the skill sets that a workplace, made out of a mix of traditionalists, baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y/millennials, and now Generation Z, has to offer. As one recent article phrased it ‘Generations will bring out the best in each other.