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8 Reasons Millennials Seem To Be Lazy At Work

8 Reasons Millennials Seem To Be Lazy At Work

Millennials are challenging the traditional notion of work. As they become the largest fraction of the U.S. workforce, more and more businesses are struggling with the demands and work ethics of Gen Y employees. If you are struggling to understand their needs and find ways to engage with them, here are eight reasons why you might be failing and think of the whole generation as lazy and non-work driven, while the reality is quite the opposite.

1. They no longer value the traditional workplace rules

Strict dress code? Fines for being late for 10 minutes? Meetings for the sake of meetings? Millennials no longer deem such things important and often fail to compile with out-dated rules. They will not work for a company where certain things are done because “it’s always been done that way.” This generation has often been called the generation of tinkerers and shortcut-takers. They don’t want to get things done “just because.” They want to get tasks done in the most efficient, least time-consuming way possible and squeeze out the max results.

Next time you think a 20-something employee is just being lazy, have a closer look at his productivity time. He might just have written a simple code to do copy-pasting for him and now enjoys longer lunches while the job is still being done by itself.

2. They believe in life, not work-life balance

Work is not everything millennials want in life. They would like to have time for their friends, family, hobbies, and other small pleasures and pastimes. They work to live, not live to work. That’s why the concept of lifestyle business gained so much popularity in the last decade among these folks. Millennials want to combine their passion with profit and work long hours on projects they feel passionate about, rather than helping someone else reach their profit benchmark.

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In fact, think about this the next time you are nagging a millennial about why they don’t get a real job and how they should stop wasting their time shooting makeup videos or hunting for stuff around flea markets to sell it on Ebay or Etsy: These young and extremely successful entrepreneurs built their business around their lifestyle:

  • Michelle Phan started as a makeup blogger and YouTuber and now owns a company with an expected revenue of $120 million in 2015.
  • Tim Ferriss is a living legend, a highly successful author best known for “The 4 Hour Workweek,” and a serial entrepreneur, having launched a series of profitable businesses revolving around his hobbies.
  • James Khezrie launched his first menswear store Jimmy Jazz in Brooklyn that has now become a popular nationwide chain and an online store. He was fueled by his love for fashion and good music.
  • Marie Forleo is an extremely successful business coach running an award-winning show, “Marie TV,” and premium training program, B-School where she teaches how anyone can create the life and business they love, while earning a few thousand dollars per year.

3. They don’t want to be just another cog in the wheel

Yes, millennials have been bashed as “the entitled generation” too many times. Yet the reason for this is that millennials are not seeking a life-long career to pay the bills. They want a job with a purpose and to do something meaningful in life. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, six out of 10 respondents said a sense of purpose was the main reason why they chose to work for a certain company.

On the other hand, most companies don’t provide their young employees with the desired setting as 28 percent of respondents from the same survey admitted they feel that their current employer is making full use of their skills.

If you want to keep your millennial workforce content and productive, your company should focus on empowering workers and explaining to them why they should care, stressing how each team member contributes to the overall success, and praise more individual efforts rather than team accomplishments or managers only.

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4. They value intangible work benefits more

A millennial job seeker is armed with technology and the Internet. They can get to know all the tiny details about your company, including reviews from former and current employers, before committing to the job. They no longer want just a desk, fixed-working hours, pension plan, and annual bonuses like other generations did.

They are more attracted by intangible benefits like a friendly work culture, a lack of micromanagement and bureaucracy, sabbaticals, and more, along with some more palpable perks like a cool office space, permission to bring pets to work, or wellness benefits. There are numerous low-cost perks a company can offer employees to keep them content, loyal, and motivated, other than lucrative salary.

5. They are used to being flexible and doing things on the go

Millennials are used to answering emails, making calls, and solving problems on the go. That’s why they don’t feel the need to be anchored to their desk during traditional work hours. Why should anyone spend eight hours in front of the desk when they are already done with their daily plan and can answer a few late emails from the nearby coffee shop? They just don’t get why people get paid for simply showing up unless the job requires their physical presence.

This generation does not want to repeat the mistakes of their parents who spent over 60 hours per week at work; instead they want it all — a successful career and the life outside the cubicle. Being tech savvy, they have the ability to set up their office anywhere and work at their own flexible hours, while accomplishing even more compared to their peers stuck in the office.

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6. They are autonomous

Most of them learned to type and use Google earlier than they started writing properly. Millennials know how and where to find information they need and often take advantage of free online learning tools out there to gain lacking skills. Besides, they grew up hearing stories about 20-something tech entrepreneurs launching their multi-billion companies from a dorm. These stories help ambitious millennial workers feel like they have the ability to be successful too.

Young executives today don’t want to be micromanaged and preached to; they want to be actively involved in the decision-making process and don’t get why their voice doesn’t count. If your company seeks innovation and the urge to progress and develop further, let them speak and act. Allowing even the most junior person on the team to share an idea about the product can bring huge positive impact.

7. They want transparency

Millennial workers don’t merely nod and do as they are told by the manager, unless they see and understand the logics behind the decision. They don’t want to waste their time on things reasoned with “I’m the boss, I know better”. They want to know the “why” behind most important decisions made. .” They want to know why important are decisions made. They may not always agree with them, but they’ll appreciate the candidness.

8. They want to learn from experience

Most millennials are rather ambitious and won’t be satisfied with working as a middle manager for the rest of their days. They crave new knowledge and first-hand experience. They are focused on personal growth, and unlike older generations they don’t think their education is done the day they have graduated from college. In fact, they are often life-long learners. They opt for courses and training based on real-life experience, rather than pursuing another degree, certification, or diploma to hang in their office.

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Allow your Gen Y workforce to spend time on mastering new skills, watching courses, or listening to podcasts. In fact, encourage them and set up a tuition-reimbursement fund, occasionally invite speakers to your office, and send your employees to training sessions and workshops.

Featured photo credit: Sara Cimino via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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