Recently, a few members of the media department met with a young woman who had applied for an assistant job we had posted online. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sit through the entire interview, but met her quickly on my way to another meeting. She was dressed professionally, had a well-designed resume and seemed to be composed, even though she was at the table being drilled by at least five different people. My initial impression was that she seemed like the “typical millennial” who wanted the chance to work at an advertising agency. And that was a good thing.
Millennial workers have been a long talked about subject and while there is a lot of truth about their perspectives at the workplace, I’m not falling for the stereotyping of this group as being lazy, lacking a strong work ethic, not understanding the corporate world and being impatient or discourteous.
According to a report from Randstad and Future Workplace, nearly 3.6 million baby boomers (between 52 and 70 years old) will retire in 2016, with 25 percent of millennials taking on management roles. The study says that they are not prepared to take on these responsibilities, that they are “simply not prepared, nor equipped, with the emotional quotient (EQ) and soft skills required to effectively manage others.”
Really? A whole generation isn’t going to be able to take on leadership roles? It seems to me that some of us baby boomers aren’t willing to accept change and see the positive in what millennials have brought to the workplace. Is it so bad that they communicate differently? Absolutely not. We need fresh thinkers. Is being bold and outspoken a bad thing? Is it wrong that they are fast paced and expect quick results? Not in my mind. The older generations need to be challenged. The world has changed and we need to keep up.
I’ve hired many millennials over the years and had a lot of success with them at the agency. For example, the reason we were interviewing the young woman was because we are promoting one of our millennials who has worked hard, shown amazing growth and deserves to be recognized. Not because anyone quit or because someone is moving to a different department.
So, while some people are having a hard time with the millennial generation, I say bring them on. I believe that it’s good for our future.
Update: Just read this brief article from MediaPost confirming my post that millenials are not lazy, but workaholics too.