Top 8 Reasons Why Workplaces Need Millennials

Every generation has faced its mountain of criticism and negative stereotyping. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the millennial generation (approx. age 16-34) is no different.  This criticism seems to reach new heights when the generation clash occurs within the workplace.  This is nothing new as the value of ‘experience’ usually clashes with the value of ‘new ways of doing things’.

Given the accelerated rate of technological change currently underway, I believe that leaders with ‘experience’ everywhere must find more effective ways to manage the clash for the greater good.

As a 50 year old manager with ‘experience’ who has worked closely with millennials over the past two years, we have an opportunity to create real change in our workplaces.  When you leverage their positive characteristics with the fact that millennials are one of the most educated generations, they are ideal partners for bringing about change.

Some of the millennial generation’s most positive characteristics that workplaces need include:

  1. Technologically-Savvy: First generation to grow up constantly connected;  Fully embrace technology
  2. Progressive: Enjoy independent thinking;  Not accepting of ‘status quo’
  3. Compassionate: Like to help others;  Want to be part of bringing about change
  4. Team-Oriented: Believe that working together is better than working alone;  Enjoy working in groups
  5. Multi-Taskers: Comfortable with accelerated learning;  Excel at juggling several tasks at once
  6. Authentic: Comfortable with imperfection and transparency;  Not interested in ‘playing the game’
  7. Results-Oriented: Enjoy practical and effective solutions;  Do not like to waste time
  8. Confident: Believe that things will get better;  Determined to find solutions to complex challenges

Why is it so much easier to focus on the negative than the positive characteristics?  We simply resist things that we do not understand.  We fear change (even when we think we don’t) and we would rather stay the course (sometimes even when it’s not working very well).

Greater results can be achieved if we build bridges across generations and focus more on the positive characteristics than the negative ones.  We have a responsibility to give millennials more opportunities to take part in decision making.  I’m sure that many leaders with ‘experience’ out there are coming to the same conclusion as I am:  Millennials have a big role to play in helping us all achieve the accelerated and complex changes that we face in our workplaces each and every day.


Kathy Roy has implemented business transformation and change management projects in complex organizations for over two decades. She has worked with major companies, both public and private, and with numerous business sectors in both Canada and the United States. She is part of Systemscope's Strategic Business Consulting practice.


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