Think about these brands and consider what they have in common: Facebook, Drake, Beyonce, Pinterest, Quora, Stephen Curry, Instagram, Snapchat, Dropbox, Jennifer Lawrence, Airbnb.
Yes, they’re relevant. And yes, they’re incredibly influential. But more importantly, they’re either millennials or are founded by one.
Often derided for being lazy, unable to focus, entitled, or self-absorbed, we millennials inch closer and closer to taking over the economy, culture, technology and much of the conversation about life and everything it encapsulates. But do we have what it takes to lead the world and make a positive difference?
Millennials have surpassed baby boomers—people born between 1946 and 1964—as the largest generational demographic in the U.S. We already outrank Gen Xer’s—people born between the mid 1960s to the early 1980s—as the largest age group in America’s workplaces, and we represent the most ethnically diverse generation ever in the country’s history.
The numbers all point to the tremendous impact millennials wield, but millennial power extends well beyond the numbers. Here’s why:
- Millennials are tough. People belonging to Generation Y developed massive levels of grit out of sheer adversity. Having experienced the Great Recession—2007-2009—the student loan crisis, high unemployment rates and other Goliath-scale challenges, many millennials were compelled to become tougher than the generations preceding them and to seek innovative solutions to their predicament.
- Millennials are ambitious. A solid majority of millennials are eager to start and grow businesses, rather than grow old in a 9-to-5 job. The millennial brands mentioned above are not only changing the digital landscape, but are revolutionizing the way we approach just about everything, from business to communication. You see rock-solid evidence that millennials have what it takes to spark game-changing ideas and transform them into successful multi-billion dollar brands.
- Millennials don’t settle. Millenials are often falsely accused by their employers of being lazy in the workplace. However, the truth lies in their preference to be selective when it comes to supporting an idea, brand or movement. Once something aligns with our passion and values, consider us all-in getting the job done. We simply don’t settle for less than what we believe in.
- Millennials breathe technology. Born and raised in the digital age, millennials are deemed the most tech-savvy, gadget-obsessed generation ever. Millennials who are comfortable with technology will be highly valuable in the workforce as it becomes more and more crucial in achieving organizational success.
- Millennials prefer meaning over money. Perhaps more than any other generation, millennials celebrate authenticity, adventure, freedom, flexibility and meaningful experiences. We’re willing to accept jobs with lower salaries provided we’re given an enriched learning environment and/or it allows us to work remotely.
Because millennials shun conventional paths and approaches, many managers experience challenges when it comes to keeping millennials motivated. Here are some tips that can turn things around.
- Always exude authenticity. Nothing turns off millennials more than inauthentic leaders or brands that are not genuine. Millennials simply won’t respect leaders who say one thing but do another. Brands that don’t live up to expectations can also expect an abrupt end at the chopping block.
- Lean towards flexibility. Because millennials value freedom, find ways that will extend some level of flexibility to how they work and contribute value. For companies, this might entail a more versatile arrangement than a 9-to-5 workday. Mobility, flexible work hours, acceptable work-life balance, telecommuting and other measures will attract the millennial worker.
- Stay relevant. Millennials prefer to engage brands which are relevant to the people or passions they care about. If your message, product or service has the likelihood of being deemed obsolete or outdated, expect your millennial workforce to jump ship.
- Demand action. Once you fuel a millennial’s passion, create opportunities that spark action. Accountability to achieve our own success will inspire us to move with relentless motivation.
Born to innovate and brimming with creative ideas, millennials will continue to shift the business landscape and generate lasting legacies for our brands. With the right motivation, having us as partners, managers or staff in this new era can be a huge advantage to your organization. If you are a millennial yourself, the key to boundless motivation is to discover your passion by delving deeper into your personality.
A great start to educate and inspire in a new, relevant, and relatable way for millennials is with the much anticipated, ‘Know Yourself’ – The Ultimate Guide to Self-awareness and Mastering Yourself’ motivational mixtape by leading millennial authority, Peter Voogd. Produced by some of the best sound engineers in the world, the 12 tracks each have a unique message mixed with an emotionally compelling sound. With a fresh, no BS, 100% raw and authentic approach, it offers inspirational insights and tactical steps for us to discover and maximize our gifts as millennials.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.