Millennial Myths: The True & Not-So-True in Agency Life
November 20, 2019
There are many millennial myths out there, particularly when it comes to the workplace — not to mention agency life. This much-maligned generation is framed as either extremely versatile and hard-working, or the most entitled and arrogant generation that’s ever existed — with very little room for opinion in between. But what’s the real story about millennials in the workplace? And, when it comes to marketing and advertising, how does the millennial perspective benefit agencies? Let’s set some of these millennial myths straight.
Myth: Millennials are Entitled
Perhaps the most common insult thrown at the millennial generation relates to their perceived entitlement. And yes, this perception can be off-putting to some. But the reality is, if millennials are entitled, they have every right to be. They just went to four-plus years of college, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt along the way, all with the promise of a great career at the end of the road. For these young men and women to discover that this alleged prosperity was all a house of cards, it’s understandably hard for them to take. If you were promised a promotion for four years, and then you ended up never getting it, you’d be upset too. So while millennials can definitely be seen as entitled by some, it’s only because of promises that were made and ultimately were not kept.
Fact: Millennials are Poor Communicators
Unlike every generation before them, millennials grew up with the Internet. Whereas the previous generation picked up the phone or knocked on the doors of their neighbors’ houses, millennials have grown accustomed to emailing and texting virtually all of their communication. There’s a reason why online delivery-based services are so successful — millennials would rather pay more to avoid talking to anybody. That’s not a skill that translates well to the workplace, and agency life. When you have to work with others and get things done, it requires not only the ability to articulate, but to read body language and to listen well. Millennials that are heavily reliant on technology don’t get enough practice with in-person communication, and it hurts them in the office.
Myth: Millennials are Lazy
Yes, millennials might look lazy to some. But once again, this is a millennial myth. It’s not that millennials are lazy as much as it is that millennials aren’t motivated in the same way to put in 12-hour days at jobs that don’t strongly align with their values and outlook. While it’s true that an office full of older men and women who routinely put in 60-hour-plus workweeks on the way up their professional ladders, millennials don’t see things the same way as those generations that preceded them. They place a unique priority on work-life balance, more-so than prior generations. They consider their mental health a higher priority than staying late just to impress their boss. And given how rates of anxiety and depression have skyrocketed over the years, millennials might be onto something here.
Fact: Millennials are Job Hoppers
If you want to lower your cable bill, you have to threaten to cancel. Just the same, millennials are quickly becoming aware that the only way to get anywhere in the corporate world is to leave and go elsewhere. However, millennials are leaving jobs at alarming rates — a Gallup study shows that one-fifth of millennials changed jobs within one year, a figure that’s three times the rate of any other generation. It should be said that this activity isn’t entirely abnormal. Younger millennials don’t own houses and don’t have kids, and there’s nothing keeping them from leaving a job that doesn’t fulfill them. If older workers were in a similar situation, they might be just as inclined to leave.
Myth: Millennials are Nothing Special
Much has been made of this generation that never fails to garner the attention of marketers and pop culture pundits. There have been countless pages written about this group, their arrogance and their unwillingness to get their hands dirty. But that’s taking a short-sighted look at millennials. This is a generation that has revolutionized the workplace, and agency life. Remote offices are now not only a neat perk, but they’re also a mainstay. Flexible hours, a continued focus on work-life balance and technological innovations have all become widespread thanks to the efforts of millennials and their refusal to accept a status quo that wasn’t working for them or their parents. Criticize them if you must, but the idea that they’ve contributed nothing to the world is yet another millennial myth.
Millennials are doing amazing things every day, in offices — and agencies — around the world. If you’d like to learn more about how you can reach this group, and craft an effective marketing strategy around this key demographic, contact us today.