Although I try to be metrics driven in all aspects of running fiveonenine games, I recently caught myself taking for fact some commonly held beliefs about millennials (people under 30) as employees. A recent article in Strategy + Business (Five Millennial Myths article)dispels the five key myths about millennials. Given the need for social game companies to hire the best talent (really the need for any good company, but this blog is not intended to save the world), having preconceptions about job candidates could severely negatively impact your business. In addition, companies often devote resources to engaging millennial workers, while they may not need engaging.
Myth: Millennials do not want to be told what to do
The basis for this belief is that millennials have always been told by their parents that everything they did was great, so they are difficult to manage. The reality is that the idea that millennials will not listen to authority is wrong. According to the article’s author’s (Jennifer Deal) research, millennials presently working are more willing to defer to authority than either Baby Boomers or Gen Xers.
Myth: Millennials lack organizational loyalty
Here, the perception is that those under 30 are not committed to their employer and will switch jobs for a small salary raise. The research shows that this perception is also incorrect, as millennials have the same level of organizational commitment as boomers and Gen Xers. The author believes that this misperception is largely caused by the fact that young people of every generation change jobs more frequently than older workers.
Myth: Millennials are not interested in their work
The idea behind this stereotype is that their lack of commitment to an organization is also shown by their lack of interest in their job. Deal’s research clearly refutes this belief, as millennials are just as intrinsically motivated as boomers and Gen Xers. The research did show that people lower in an organization are slightly less motivated by the content of their jobs than people at higher levels. Given millennials are under 30, they are often lower in the organization and thus those display less interest in their jobs.
Myth: Millennials are motivated by perks and high pay
This belief is that millennials are only interested in material rewards and organizations could never satisfy their desires. The research, however, shows no correlation between age and whether the person is motivated by salary and perks.
Myth: Millennials want more work-life balance
According to this conviction, millennials want to spend lots of time outside the office, whereas Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are workaholics. Guess what, this belief is somewhat true. Millennials are interested in work-life balance, but not much more than Gen Xers. The author believes that even this difference is caused by the different stages of life the people are at, rather than a shift among generations.
My biggest takeaway from this article is that hiring and HR needs to be as analytics driven as the rest of your company. When we start to use perceptions and anecdotes to make decisions rather than data, we often make bad decisions. If those decisions lead to creating a weaker team than you had to or wasting resources trying to “satisfy” already happy employees, it could seriously hamper your company’s ability to thrive.