It’s easy to poke fun at GenY employees for not taking their jobs seriously—but it’s time to dispel the Millennial employee stigma.

What group of employees can’t fathom starting work before 10:00 a.m., require heaps of praise for even the most remedial tasks, turn to Google for everything and make up excuses to take days off work? GenY, of course!

While these stereotypes are all in good fun, Millennials should not be brushed off. They are the largest generation since Baby Boomers, and they “are on track to become the most educated generation in American history.”

Truth is, while Millennial workers’ mindset may seem different to other generations, that doesn’t mean they’re any less engaged. So rather than poke more fun at this generation, let’s work on setting some of these stigmas straight.

1. Being paid more doesn’t necessarily keep Millennials happy

Almost any poll asking Millennials what makes them happy will result in one common consensus: they aren’t all in it for the money. In fact, some are more inclined to work at a job where they’re making a social impact. Or they want to work for a company that has plenty of bells and whistles in terms of perks.

And no, that doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy up a bunch of bean bags to replace office chairs or install slides from one floor to the next. What it means is Millennials want to work for a company that’s in-tune with nurturing employee happiness. That could mean offering wellness programs in the office or partnering with a charitable organization so employees can give back.

2. They want flexibility…but not because it’s convenient

Millennial workers look for companies that offer flexibility in when and where they work. According to, they prefer their performance to be measured by how much work they get done, not how many hours they log sitting at their desks. Millennials are either looking for jobs that offer virtual working options or are trying to convince their workplaces it’s a good idea.

Businesses like Netflix are a prime example of flexibility with accountability in mind. Their work policies have few barriers. There’s no set timetable for when employees must show up to the office. They don’t need to work in a cubicle if they don’t want to, nor are they restricted to 9-to-5 hours. At Netflix, as long as you’re meeting your goals and are doing everything in your power to push the business further, they’ll accommodate your desire for flexibility.

3. They crave coaching, not hand-holding

Millennials want to be appreciated just like any other generation of workers. But they also are just as eager to learn more from their superiors so they can advance their careers. They want to be coached and have more one-on-one interactions with their managers on how to hack a task or push innovation.

Research proves that theory, with around 61 percent of Millennials workers requesting more formal consultations, while 53 percent want one-on-one discussions. Another survey found that 98 percent of GenY employees see mentors as necessary for their career development.

Now, that’s not to say they’re requesting more input because they don’t want to do the busy work themselves; rather, they want the constructive criticism or insight to determine how they can make a project successful. The more feedback and instructions they receive, the more value they feel they’re putting toward their career and the company as a whole.

Which helps simplify the last issue…

4. Millennials are switching jobs more frequently…but not because of boredom

Many reports have already stated how Millennial employees are leaving their posts more quickly (most stay only 2.3 years) than the national average (nearly 4.6 years). And while this trend of Millennial job hopping is a definite cause for alarm, it shouldn’t be thought of as the norm.

It’s true that if a company isn’t offering the right situation to an employee, it may result in that person heading elsewhere. But if you could take away one thing from this article, it’s that Millennials have certain values when it comes to their jobs that differ from other generations.

Employee engagement is at the heart of the matter, and if Millennials feel their contributions aren’t being valued, or the company culture isn’t the right fit, they’re acting on their gut instinct by leaving rather than play the waiting game.

Kyle O’Brien is the Community Manager for an e-learning provider, ej4, which helps with performance improvement initiatives for businesses. He’s covered a wide range of business topics, from employee motivation tips to understanding leadership skills and many more.


  1. CareerShift

    Kyle, this is a great list. Gen Y workers are often painted in the wrong light due to stereotypes. However, like most stereotypes, they are based on a small majority. Gen Y professionals know what they want, are hard workers, and will go after it in whatever capacity they can. The is true for most generations, as well. The way various generations go about achieving their goals may be different, but it doesn’t make them less valuable.

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    degree in a job problem. What do you think?

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  5. JT

    I love these myths…who doesn’t want these things in a career? I’m not Gen Y and I want them. My grandad would have liked them. People are turning it into a problem because they run crappy companies.

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  9. Gabby

    So, how is this really different from any generation?

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