Turns out Millennials aren’t that different in the Workplace

Is your company still contributing to the billion-dollar theory that Millennials are unique? It’s time to stop and invest that money in something more useful.

Millennials are all over the media, and while most of the articles portray them as lazy narcissists that are easily distracted and impatient, they’re also often portrayed as wanting purpose, feedback, and a work-life balance. 

This fascination with Millennials has created a whole new industry of experts telling us that Millennials are different and that we should treat them differently.

But what if I told you that they’re not that different from other generations at all? I mean, who doesn’t want purpose, feedback, and work-life balance? That’s right, we all want that. Not just one generation.

A lot of articles also mention that the internet and social media play a big role in the way that Millennials communicate. But doesn’t the internet and social media play a big role in every generation nowadays? How many non-Millennials also seek news from an online source? How many non-Millennials also use social media as a way to share and seek out information? 

Your organization shouldn’t have an effective online presence for the sake of Millennials, but for the sake of keeping up with the times and staying competitive in a consistently advancing workplace.

The problem with most studies about Millennials is that they don’t compare them to other generations. They just highlight what Millennials want, yet lack to mention that it’s most likely that other generations want the same things.

This Harvard Business Review article talks about a growing body of evidence that suggests that employees of all ages are much more alike than different in their attitudes and values at work. The gaps that do exist are just small differences that have always existed between younger and older workers, and have little to do with the Millennial generation.

Want more proof? Let’s look at some numbers. IBM Institute for Business Value’s report titled “Myths, Exaggerations and Uncomfortable Truths: The Real Story Behind Millennials in the Workplace” is about a multigenerational study of employees in 12 countries. The findings show that 25% of Millennials want to make a positive impact on their organization, but 21% of Generation X and 23% of Baby Boomers want the same. These are minimal differences. The same applies to other career goals as you can see below.

So is it worth it to invest in strategies that are meant only for Millennials? If you look at research findings, the answer is no. It’s more useful to gain insights that help you improve engagement and performance of every employee. (Pssst, check out our research tool: Fan Scan.)

However, this doesn’t mean that we have to forget about generational differences in everything we do at work. It could still be very valuable to see the similarities and differences in communication and appealing content using an employee app to target your employee’s engagement. If you’re interested in an employee app, have a look at our Fan App! We can help create content for your own employee app.