Millennials Change Everything


By Samuel Greengard

It seems that the current crop of college graduates entering the job market are behaving in increasingly bizarre ways—at least by traditional standards. They're dressing inappropriately, bringing their parents and pets to job interviews, using slang or foul language, and even texting and checking messages during interviews, USA Today reports.

Worse, the number of recent college grads who lack professionalism on the job has swelled from about 40% in 2012 to 50% today, according to a recent study conducted by the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania. In addition, HR professionals say that 50% of younger employees feel a sense of entitlement.

Is this really a surprise? After receiving piles of trophies for coming in last place and being told by their parents that they're right even when they're wrong, many of these younger workers now possess their own alternative version of reality. But here's where it gets difficult: CIOs and other executives can't be too choosy when attempting to snag top talent. The competition is fierce and the stakes are high.

Of course, all of this is taking place amid a backdrop of stagnant wages and ever greater demands on employees. Americans now work more hours than almost every other country or culture in the world. On an annual basis, we exceed the Dutch by 408 hours, the Germans by 374 and the supposedly work-obsessed Japanese by 59. As younger American workers enter this somewhat depressing work environment, they're increasingly saying enough is enough, even if it means being underemployed or unemployed.

So, here's a bit of advice: If you haven't already done so, embrace BYOD, the consumerization of IT and build a workplace that's social and fun. Nearly 90 percent of Millennials support the latter and 81 percent believe they should set their own working hours, according to a 2012 MTV study. Also hand out awards and lots of recognition. Eight in 10 Millennials say they need more recognition than they currently receive.

Understand too that this somewhat pampered and overly self-assured group isn't going to change. They're going to force you and the organization to change. We're not in Boomerland or X-World anymore. Millennials will comprise about three-quarters of the workforce by 2025. Already, there are about 40 million of these individuals in the workforce and, as they become the majority of the employees, a different enterprise and IT department will emerge.