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Understanding Millennials – Who is Generation Y?

Understanding Millennials – Who is Generation Y?

Introducing Generation Y

Every generation has its own traits. For example, the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 – 1964) were said to be work-centric, independent, goal-oriented and competitive. This was driven by their environment, following the second world war when numbers of marriages dropped yet the birth rate increased meaning that the school classrooms were fuller and there was considerable competition for college places.

The same is true with the latest generation, the Millennials, the generation born between 1985 and 2000. A generation forged by the environment they have grown up in, one of greater environmental awareness, new technology and changing workplaces.

Millennials are a now major part of society, making up 27% of the US population, just over 83 million people in total,[1] therefore they have a massive influence on products and major purchasing power averaging around $600 Billion last year (an amount expected to grow to $1.4 Trillion by 2020).

It is for this reason that many organisations have developed specific marketing strategies for millennial’s. However, who are they? How can they be defined and most importantly how can you categorize a generation?

Who are the millennial’s and how do they behave?

Millennials have a complex set of traits very different from ‘Generation X’ they have lived through a time of considerable change in terms of the environment, culture and technology.

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One of the often used phrases to describe millennial’s is the ‘Peter Pan generation’, this is the phenomenon of not wanting, or not being able, to leave their teenage years behind. A combination of the media glamorizing teenage life making it seem more attractive and real financial struggles, , more young people than ever are living with their parents for longer. Pew Research found that over 32% of millennial’s are still living with mum and dad and over 35% are not settling down in relationships until much later, not finding partners and considering children until at least 35 years old.[2]

Millennials Family

    They are aware of marketing efforts, when it comes to purchasing decisions they would rather read independent blogs than believe advertising.  33% read online content to support a purchasing decision, whereas only 3% consider TV as an influencer.[3]

    Millennials Built For Technology

    Growing up during a technological revolution, with the birth of the world wide web in the early 90’s and the introduction of computers with graphical user interfaces like Windows they are certainly engaged with technology.

    A Nielsen survey[4] reveals 85% of millennial’s have a smartphone which they are likely to check more than 45 times per day.[5]  87% are regular users of Facebook and engage with social media regularly.[6] However, being more social online often has an impact on their offline friendships, they may have many hundreds of Facebook friends but struggle to engage with individuals face to face. The exception is in the workplace where friendships are being developed more easily, with more time spent at work millennial’s use the opportunity to make real friendships which have even been found to increase productivity, 57% of respondents in a recent survey found that having friends at work made them more happy and productive.[7]

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    The growth of online video has also made an impact, 80% of millennial’s use video when making decisions about product purchases and 76% follow their favourite brands on YouTube.[8]

    Millennials Favourite Video Site - You Tube

      Politics and Authority

      The two phrases which come about when you speak about millennial’s are entitled and narcissistic, many people class the millennial’s as ‘the me generation’ and, as a recent study shows, ‘entitled’ is a label  which even millennial’s themselves use.

      Dr. Jean Twenge, author of books including ‘Generation Me’ and ‘The Narcissism Epidemic’ says; “Instead of viewing entitlement as a sense that the universe owes you something you may not have earned, many view entitlement as the right to go after big goals and aim high — without asking for permission from gatekeepers and authority figures.”

      Therefore, we are seeing a generation who is self-absorbed, but that this is for a positive reason, they no longer feel they have to be governed by external authority or that any goal is out of their reach.  Young people feel less affiliated with politics or religion, research shows more than 50% do not feel involved with politics and 29% take no part in organised religion.

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      Donald Trump

        Young people now expect that working hard should yield rewards, however not purely fiscal rewards. A recent survey showed that 75% of respondents would rather work for a company who was socially responsible even if the salary offered was less and 64% would not work for an organisation which did not have strong social or environmental commitments.[9]

        Millennials Facts

          In the workplace 55% of millennial’s state they are not engaged with their work, it’s a ‘means to an end’ and they are not motivated to deliver therefore productivity is lower.[10] This is a higher percentage than any previous generation. They require regular engagement and feedback, with 44% being more likely to be engaged when their manager holds regular meetings with them and offers regular feedback. They need a coaching environment more than supervision.[11]

          It paints a picture of a self-driven generation who know their mind and needs to feel that they are taking a personal responsibility not only for themselves as the accusation of narcissism states, but also the wider community. They do not necessarily feel involved or controlled by government and are instead striving to forge their own path.  Overall millennial’s have a greater concern for others than many previous generations with concerns for environmental issues and social causes being high on their agendas, many seek to buy products from organisations which support social causes they care about and work for organisations who demonstrate a corporate responsibility.

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          The Millennial Culture

          The millennial age also created a range of music and pop culture moments. It’s the generation which embraced digital music, no longer having to buy a whole album instead being able to pick and chose tracks. More and more people became musical explorers as the technology allowed you to discover new music from around the world in a way that the record shop of previous generations could never have done. There was the growth of a closer relationship with artists via social media, initially using MySpace but now with Facebook, Twitter and others allowing fans to be closer to their favourite performers than ever before. Even the video model changed with the introduction of Netflix, albeit as a service which mailed you physical DVD’s but it was to mark the end of video rental and soon was to become what it is today with instant streaming.

          The top 100 cultural highlights have been collated by Vulture.com, some of the most notable highlights include:[12]

          • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – with a catchy theme tune every millennial could sing even now (with thanks to Will Smith and Quincy Jones).
          • The Cha-Cha Slide – that packed dancefloors with synchronised sliding and criss-crossing.
          • Now That’s What I Call Music – a regular musical treat throughout the generation an LP, CD or download of the best music of the moment.
          • Toy Story – basically the birth of Pixar on the big screen and the development of CGI and computer animation generation
          • The Spice Girls – The baby boomer generation may have had the birth of feminism the millennial’s had the birth of Girl Power.
          • Harry Potter – it was the series of books which made reading essential again and then a series of pivotal films

          Millennials Impact on The World

          Although it’s early days for many of millennial’s, when you look at the inventions created already you can see that we may be in for exciting times ahead. This is the generation who created Google, when Sergey Brin and Larry Page sat down and rethought how the internet should be searched and Mark Zucherburg’s Facebook as well as the creation of Twitter and Snapchat. This is to be expected of the first generation of digital natives for whom their smartphones and mobile internet have become a necessity, on average sending 50 texts per day and permanent social media connectivity there’s more communication than any other generation before them. However, they are also a generation with less available income and higher student loan debts, averaging $20,926 before they start working impacting their major purchasing decisions, for example 30% not intending to purchase a car in the near future[13] and over 60% choosing to rent rather than purchase a house.[14] They are certainly Savvy with 57% using technology to compare prices when in stores.[15]

          Google

            The Millennial Future

            The millennial generation is the largest in US history, as they start to reach working age their impact on the economy will be vast. They are a generation who will not be held back, they have the technology to develop amazing things, and if it’s not there they will create it. A massively driven generation who care about the world they live in and have clear ideas of what they want to achieve in their lives. They consider how they live with wellness and health being key. They are living through the effects of massive global financial downturns and rapid change but are succeeding and growing for the future.

            Image Sources: Family, You Tube Logo, Donald Trump, Millennial InfographicComputer

            Featured photo credit: Pixabay.com via pixabay.com

            Reference

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            Last Updated on October 23, 2018

            How to Eliminate Work Stress When You’re Stressed to the Max

            How to Eliminate Work Stress When You’re Stressed to the Max

            Workplace stress is a modern epidemic. More than one-third of American workers experience chronic work stress. This is estimated to cost American businesses up to $300 billion a year in lost work hours and medical bills.[1]

            Clearly, if you’re suffering from work stress – you’re far from alone. But, work stress isn’t inevitable.

            In this article, I’m going to help you identify the root cause of your stress and suggest the most suitable ways to cope with job stress so you can become a happy and productive worker again.

            Where Work Stress Comes From

            Certain factors tend to go hand-in-hand with work-related stress. The causes of stress include:

            • Too much work – you feel overwhelmed by your work and find yourself saying: “There are not enough hours in the day!”
            • The job is too easy, not challenging or inspiring – this is where boredom (which is stressful) sets in.
            • Pressure from co-workers or lack of social support – colleagues are not helpful or only care about their own tasks.
            • Little praise and lots of criticism – this is where a lousy manager uses constant criticism to ‘try’ to motivate you.
            • Very demanding or competitive working culture – sales departments often fit this category.
            • Not having enough control over job-related decisions – this is when people try to micro-manage you.
            • High expectations on yourself or seeking perfection – while it’s good to do your best, being a perfectionist can be a powerful stress generator.
            • Low salary – if you work hard but receive slim financial rewards, you may start to feel downhearted, frustrated and stressed.

            The Negative Effects of Stress on Your Mind and Body

            Chronic stress is bad news for your mental health and physical health. These are some health symptoms of stress:[2]

              If stress hormones are triggered in your body for extended periods, they can lead to increased physical aging. This is because stress makes your cells look and act older – and this is reflected in your physical appearance.[3]

              In addition to the negative effects on your body, stress also has a significant influence on your brain – negatively impacting your daily performance.

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              I recommend you watch the 4-minute video below to see just how stress can wreak havoc on your brain and your performance:

              How to Cope with Work Stress (A Step-By-Step Guide)

              You don’t need to be a victim of work stress. Here’s how to manage stress in the workplace:

              1. Set aside some time for planning

              If work has become too much for you, and you’re constantly falling behind… stop! Instead of trying and failing to catch up, you’d be much better off spending some time thinking about your goals and how your prioritize your tasks.

              Learn how to set clear goals with this step-by-step guide.

              For instance, if your initial goal is just to get on top of your work (probably for the first time in months), then take 10 minutes to think clearly and deeply about how you can achieve this. Most likely, you’ll be able to come up with tasks that you need to complete to reach your goal. And once your goal and tasks are clear in your mind, you’ll be ready for the second step.

              2. Align your tasks with your goal

              Just knowing your goal and associated tasks is not enough. Many people reach this stage but still fall behind with their work and fail to achieve their goals.

              The secret is to understand which of your tasks should be high priority and which ones can be done when you have spare time.

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              For example, checking your inbox every 20 minutes may seem to be a productive task for you, but in reality it acts as a constant distraction and productivity killer. Instead, you’d be better off setting aside 30 minutes in the morning to check your emails and 30 minutes in the afternoon to do the same.

              By doing this, you’ll free up the bulk of your day for tasks that can help you reach your goal. These tasks are likely to be things like: writing a business proposal, creating a PowerPoint presentation, and finishing an important project.

              These tips on how to prioritize will help you align your tasks with your goals and work 10X more efficiently.

              3. Remove, change or accept the stressors

              How to tackle specific work stressors? I recommend the following method that WellCast introduced:[4]

              Take a piece of paper and divide it into three columns. At the top, write remove in the first column, change in the second and accept in the third.

                Next, think of the stressors that are getting to you the most. Perhaps it’s your paycheck; it might be way smaller than you’d like or feel that you deserve. Don’t worry, this is your chance to break free from the stress surrounding your low pay.

                Think for a few moments, which would you prefer:

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                • To remove yourself from the company
                • To try to change your salary by asking for a pay rise
                • To accept that your salary is okay for you

                You may be surprised at what thoughts come into your mind. Don’t reject them, but allow yourself time to be clear on how you’d like to proceed.

                If the status quo feels good to you, then write “paycheck” in the accept column. If you decide you want to increase your salary but stay in the same company, write “paycheck” in the change column. And finally, if you decide the time is right to seek a new opportunity at a different organization, then write “paycheck” in the remove column.

                By being decisive in this way, you’ll immediately feel freer and in control of your destiny. And your stress levels will begin to trend downwards. All that remains is to set yourself a clear goal of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do this.(Luckily, steps #1 and #2 above will help you out!)

                Of course, if you have multiple work stressors, then use your remove, change or accept sheet to work through all of them. It will be time VERY well spent.

                4. Create positive relationships at work

                One key to improving your ability to manage stress is being able to accept help from others. Not only does it alleviate negative circumstances by simply distracting you and creating a buffer between daily tasks and their negative connection, it will provide a sense of support and relief.

                Make an effort to create friendships with your colleagues. Go to the after-work happy hour or just ask a colleague out for coffee at lunchtime. Not only will you have someone to confide in, but you will start to associate positive feelings to work.

                Forming a healthy relationship with your manager or supervisor is also a good way to alleviate stress. Positive, two-way conversations about where you stand in your job, being honest about how you feel, and working together to make a plan of action in terms of improved work conditions and expectations are paramount. This will lead to opening up and receiving the necessary resources you need to support or help you.

                5. Take time out for yourself

                Anyone can get overwhelmed when stress occurs at work, and this can spill into other areas of your life. This is why it’s important to clock out mentally from your job from time to time.

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                Take time off to relax and unwind in order to regain your energy and come back to work invigorated. Make sure you actually do something you enjoy like spending time with your kids or partner, or visit that country you’ve always wanted to explore.

                If taking time off work isn’t possible in the midst of your stress, take scheduled breaks throughout your day. Sit quietly somewhere or do some stretches to get your blood flowing like in the example below:

                6. Take mindful action towards your health

                The irony of stress is that your healthy habits can take a backseat. Maintaining and even improving your health will keep your stress under control. Here are some ways to keep you physically fit:

                • Eat healthy foods. Make sure your diet is full of foods that provide your body with sufficient nutrients. Eat more fruits and green vegetables, whole foods, omega-3 rich fish, and seeds such as flax, chia and hemp. These types of food ensure your body is working optimally to cope with its stress mechanisms.
                • Avoid unhealthy foods. This is obvious, but it’s these kinds of food you reach for in times of stress and negativity. High fat foods such as cheese and red meat cause sluggishness and tiredness. Foods high in refined sugars like biscuits, chocolate bars, and bread can be convenient snacks, but they cause you to crash and burn. Same with caffeinated drinks such as coffee and sodas – these are just ‘band aid’ habits that interfere with your ability to sleep.
                • Exercise regularly. Endorphins are the best for counteracting stress, and what better way to release them than doing physical exercise. Exercise creates a distraction and helps you get your thoughts back together in an orderly way. Start a new exercise regime – whether it’s running, swimming, cycling or walking to work. Getting your blood and endorphins flowing will make you feel happier.
                • Get enough sleep. Make getting 8 hours sleep a priority. When we’re stressed it can sometimes feel hard to get to sleep but sleep deprivation only exaggerates our current stress. A well-rested mind is able to find solutions to problems more easily and reacts better to daily stressors.

                Final Thoughts

                Everyone encounters stress at work. It’s a natural and normal human reaction. The difference between letting the stress overcome you and coping with it is getting a head start by creating a positive environment and lifestyle.

                Counteracting stress is both an inside and outside job. Focusing on improving your health will create a positive mind able to react better. Forming positive relationships with certain people around you will give you emotional support.

                Beat stress with the right mindset!

                Featured photo credit: whoislimos via unsplash.com

                Reference

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