Millennials have undeservedly earned a bad rep when it comes to workplace behaviour.
In a nutshell
- Measuring millennials' performance in the workplace based on GenX and Baby Boomer criteria misses the key things that matter to millennials such as a sense of purpose and work life balance.
- We found millennials to be passionate and considered about the role of work in their broader life ambitions.
- New Zealand millennials' views reflect the Holstee Manifesto, aspiring to live a great life in the most secure way possible.
How did this passionate and thoughtful generation get tarred with the lazy and entitled brush?
Recent studies have fuelled negative and controversial headlines, but are more noteworthy for being out of tune with what matters to millennials in a workplace or in an employer: a sense of purpose, work life balance, self-growth and forward momentum – and judging them instead by GenX and Baby Boomer criteria. In fact, explicitly measuring millennials on “generating revenue” and “cost-effectiveness” doesn’t align with their more holistic values at all.
Like most Auckland based companies, TRA employs many talented and conscientious millennials. If we believed everything we read, we could conclude that we lucked out in finding the atypical ones. We know this isn’t true, however, because relying on headlines and the blunt instrument of metrics without the sensitivity of understanding isn’t very enlightening.
If we want to make insightful data-driven decisions then we need to understand people as multi-dimensional human beings, not purely in the narrow, one-dimensional role as consumer or employee. To market to this group, brands and employers need to be truly customer-centric and bring the real, whole lives of this group into their thinking –not just a snippet of their life. You have to immerse yourself in their lives in order to comprehend all of the influences and tensions that make them the layered and nuanced people they are.
Millennials were the subject of our Listening Project and, far from being lazy and difficult, we found New Zealand’s millennials to be passionate and considered about the role of work in their broader life ambitions.
The Holstee Manifesto became a global phenomenon when it was released in 2011, articulating the zeitgeist of a generation. Five years on, the manifesto still captures the principles by which Auckland’s risk-averse Millennials aspire to work and live. By listening in context we were able to see how they are trying to live this life in the safest way possible.