Insight from millennials in the workplace

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Written by Natalie King on 19 March 2018

Recently, I’ve been thinking of exaggerated portrayals.

Do millennials really see the world through the lens of endless optimism, or are our views more jaded? Are we stereotypically overenthusiastic and extroverted, or are we more reserved? Lastly, do we want longevity and stability in our jobs, or do we prefer to be free agents? [1]

As one of the many millennials in the workplace, I feel the modern learner stereotypes presumptuous and frustrating.

Often defined as easily distracted, disloyal and impatient, these assumptions can feel unfair. Whilst many modern learners will agree that we have different learning and working styles to that of our predecessors, it is not necessarily a bad thing.

The technology in our everyday continues to get faster, easier and better, so it's no surprise that yes, we do get frustrated when asked to use a slow technology that is hard to use.

Modern learners will make the most of modern technology and instant communications to ensure maximum efficiency – why spend more time travelling to a classroom when the same teaching material is available online and can be completed during our preferred time?

I'm here to debunk some millennials myths.

Millennials are too ambitious, unrealistic and impatient

Some millennials are pushing to become CEOs before the age of 30. Some want to reach a certain rung of the career ladder before excelling at this level. Others dream of a comfortable, settled life. Despite the misconceptions, we cannot be defined by our ambition, but we can be defined by our ‘impatience’.

This perceived impatience stems from experiencing dial up, broadband and now super-fast fibre optic internet. We've experienced the 3310 brick phone to the iPhone X with its revolutionary Face ID – because the Touch ID of the iPhone 7 wasn’t good enough.

The technology in our everyday continues to get faster, easier and better, so it's no surprise that yes, we do get frustrated when asked to use a slow technology that is hard to use.

Because of this, slow systems and lengthy technological processes simply aren’t up to expectations. We expect to be able to access what we need to whilst using the minimum number of clicks, as we have been conditioned by technological improvements that this is to be expected.

Millennials take, take, take

Millennials are hungry for more, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not grateful. Given the opportunity, we will accept any training offered to improve our professional skillset, but that doesn’t mean that we are looking to improve so that we can leave for a ‘better’ role.

We’ve grown being told we can do anything if we put our minds to it, which has encouraged a generation of perfectionists. Whilst modern learners will embrace all opportunities offered to us, more often than not it is for the feeling of self-improvement and to be able to apply our new-found knowledge to our current role, making us more competent.

Indeed, the more learning that is offered (preferably that is easily accessible, fun, bite-sized and relevant), the more loyalty we feel towards the brand that has helped to grow us professionally.

Millennials expect the world

We do expect more than our predecessors, but not in monetary value. We favour a healthy work/life balance over a high salary with the associated level of stress. A healthy social life, fitness, and close ties with families takes precedence over status and prestige.

Many millennials favour intangible perks such as a happy working culture and benefits such as working from home.

Many of the modern learner stereotypes are loosely based on truths but are given negative spin – which is unfair.

Whilst remote working often gets a negative press in conjunction with younger workers, Phil Cicioria, Business & Law Editor at the University of Illinois has it right: telecommuters want to be seen as 'good citizens' of the company in order to justify their flexible work arrangements [2].

Whilst remote working is on the rise, it is still very much seen as a perk, and we are unwilling to abuse the privilege of our working arrangements. Remote workers are proven to be more productive, get more done and work longer hours – whilst being happier and less likely to quit than their in-office counterparts [2].

This said, we do expect something from our employers: mobile-optimised systems. From emails pinging through to their phones, to an entire learning course enabled for use on smaller screens, we expect to be able to work whilst on-the-go – and quickly. The applications used must be optimised specifically for mobile-usage, with minimal clicks required to access what is needed.

Many of the modern learner stereotypes are loosely based on truths but are given negative spin – which is unfair. Some millennials are motivated by money, but our intentions behind our desire for money can vary hugely – some simply want the status; others, stability; some want to travel the world; millennials may be saving to get married.

These ambitions are no different to that of our predecessors and I often wonder how dissimilar we actually are to the baby boomers, who had similar comparisons pushed upon them by their predecessors.


[1] Deloitte, “The Millennial Mindset: Work styles and aspirations of millennials”

[2] Monster, “Working from home can benefit employers as much as employees”


About the author

Natalie King is content creator and marketing executive at Kallidus.

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