Millennials’ High Demands May Improve Corporate CultureBy Lisa Skapinker on May 21, 2012 in The Watercooler
We’ve all heard (or experienced) the pesky stereotypes about Millennials — that they’re entitled, demanding, and impatient. Recent studies have shown that some of these characterizations are, in fact, true.
But all this entitlement and these high demands may not be a bad thing. They may even be instrumental in improving your organization’s corporate culture.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal study, 23% of college grads would turn down a job that didn’t let them make or take personal calls, and 20% would turn down a job that banned them from checking personal email. In addition, only 3% of Millennials surveyed say they plan to stay at their job for more than five years, and 91% said they’d leave their job if they were unhappy.
What Millennials are demanding is a better work culture — one that makes them happy and fulfilled. Gen Y has grown up in a world where communication is instant, they are constantly connected, and satisfaction at work is a reality they’ve been taught to expect and demand. But happiness and satisfaction at work are not unreasonable demands. And neither is keeping some connection with the outside world when you’re holed up in the office.
Indeed, it’s increasingly clear that the culture in most workplaces is broken.
“Let’s face it, companies are increasingly asking for extreme dedication from their employees,” argues The Grindstone‘s Lindsay Cross. “They expect immense amounts of overtime, constant communication through smartphone even when you aren’t at the office, and levels of productivity that would never have been imagined a decade ago. The Great Recession made all of us very nervous for our jobs, a fact that many companies exploited to install Draconian demands from their employees. You’re going to work 80 hours a week for a reduced salary and you’re going to be thankful for the opportunity to do so.”
For many Millennials, the line between what’s personal and what’s professional is blurred. They network through social media and communicate through their PDAs. In fact, Cisco’s 2011 Connected Technology World Report revealed that 45% of young professionals would choose a job with unrestricted access to social media over a job with a higher salary. But it’s not just external communications that are facilitated by social technology: increasing cross-departmental and team communications through social technology could have a major impact on a company’s business. Connecting through social media helps increase transparency, communication, and collaboration across organizations. And studies show that fully networked organizations report greater benefits not only from internal communications, but also from external communications with customers, partners, and suppliers.
Millennials may be entitled and demanding, but what they are demanding is a better work culture. A culture where people can communicate at lightning speed, work is enjoyable and meaningful, and employees don’t need to be cut off from the outside work at the office.
Do any of these things really sound so bad?