Social Enterprise

We're not what you think: Debunking the myths about millennials

Setting the record straight on the workforce of the future...

...used to technology in a way their predecessors won't have been, but essentially young people entering the workforce will respect their managers as much or as little as they always have done. Did you agree with everything your boss said the day you joined the organisation?

Millennial Myth 5: Millennials cannot think
The myth: technology is dumbing down the millennials, and that they are, in fact, the dumbest generation.

The reality: contrary to Mark Bauerlein's argument in The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future, in my experience there are plenty of intelligent millennials.

Intelligence is recognised by baby boomers as the ability to store and recite facts. We have Google. It would be a foolish waste of time for us to learn facts, so don't despair if your recruits appear ignorant.

Google has not made us stupid but has enabled us to devote our time and energy to developing other skills such as multitasking, creative thinking and collaboration.

Google is an extension of the millennial mind

Google is an extension of the millennial mind
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

And I feel I have just proved my own point by Googling 'what are millennials good at' to help me write that.

Sure, our grammar may be terrible, but blame the national curriculum not our love of technology.

And now for some millennial facts. Having trashed those millennial myths let me now tell you what is unique about the millennial workforce and how your company needs to change to make the most of them.

Millennial Fact 1: We prefer to figure out technology - no instruction manuals for us, thank you very much
Please don't sit us down for a PowerPoint lecture on how to use Microsoft Office. Even if you can find something new to tell us about software we've been using since we were old enough to prod a keyboard, chances are we'll have slipped into the sleeping-with-eyes-open mode we perfected at university and will miss it entirely.

Actually, please don't lecture us about IT systems full stop. Many of my fellow graduates have relayed horror stories of having to endure whole weeks of induction workshops where they are forced to sit through hours of 'and to access the server...' without taking any information in.

As Don Tapscott so eloquently puts it...

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