Millennials (a.k.a. Gen Y) are stereotyped as lazy and entitled. It’s hard to forget all the stories about participation trophies that each youngster received just for signing up and playing on a sports team when they were young. Things like this helped build a concept in people’s minds that just doesn’t end up proving true in most cases. In many ways, millennials are more productive than any other generation to have entered the workforce. Here's why.
1. They take advantage of technology.
Millennials know technology. They grew up using the Internet and computers. Therefore, they’re very savvy about how to leverage these resources. A young person who doesn’t know how to complete a task will quickly find a YouTube tutorial that explains it, instead of messing around with trial-and-error.
They know which technical resources will enhance their productivity, and use them all the time, whether it’s Wikipedia, an app or just the timer on their smartphone.
2. They have side hustles.
The economy has forced millennials -- even those with full-time professional jobs -- to take on side gigs teaching fitness classes, nannying or waiting tables. In fact, about one in four millennials has a side hustle.
These side gigs take up valuable hours in the day. As such, millennials are forced to balance their time. That way, they can climb the ladder at their day job while succeeding at their side gig. That results in a much-needed secondary paycheck.
There’s nothing better to motivate you to get work done on time than knowing you’ll lose your second job if you don’t make it out the door. That is a key reason why Gen Y is more productive than other generations that had more job security.
3. They highly value productivity.
People tend to do better at those things that they value since they put more effort into them. A recent survey by Microsoft found that 93 percent of its Gen Y respondents believe productivity is the key to happiness.
Whether it’s finding free meditation apps that help them stay calm, free CRM options for their new sales job or automation tools for testing apps, this younger generation puts a premium on productivity. Their highly-scheduled childhoods have turned them into a generation of adults who equate being busy and getting things with living well. That’s an excellent sign for employers and anyone else who is eager to find productive employees.
Most are also known for waking up in the more productive hours of the day.
4. They strategize for productivity.
That same survey by Microsoft found that 92 percent of Millennials keep a to-do list. That helps them know what their priorities and deadlines are, so they can get everything done on time. That to-do list might be on their phone, instead of the notepad of earlier generations, but it’s just as functional.
5. The boundary between work and play is fuzzy.
While their Baby Boomer parents tend to believe that work is for work and home is for home, those lines are much blurrier for millennials. They might have a little more “play” at work -- such as joining the company softball team or attending Friday afternoon happy hour.
However, they’re also much more open to taking their work home with them, and you’ll often find millennial on their laptop on their couch at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday night. They’re not on Facebook -- they’re working on those reports that are due on Friday. They’re happy to put in the extra hours, as long as they can do it with flexibility. With this always on mentality, Gen Y is more productive than other generations that want a distinct separation between work and play.
6. They learn from failure.
Millennials spent their childhoods playing video games, where a failure just meant a chance to start over and do better the next time. Maybe that’s why they’re so much more open to experimentation and failure than their older co-workers. This generation is okay with diving into a new project, even one they’re unsure of, and doing their best.
Work tends to get done faster this way since they’re less concerned with perfectionism. This can lead some Millennials to work too quickly, and let minor errors slip through -- make sure to discuss whether it’s more important for things to be done fast or done well.
7. They have a growth mindset.
Many Millennials watched their parents lose jobs during the 2008 financial crisis. They learned that if you’re not moving up, you could easily get tossed out. So, they’re consistently focused on learning more and doing better. This can be tough for employers since the average millennials stays in a job only two years. However, they’re more likely to stay longer if they believe their boss is invested in their success and gives them opportunities to grow. If their responsibilities are changing, a young person will remain in a job much longer. They’ll also focus on productivity because they yearn to be seen as improving and providing value.
8. They’re pros at multitasking.
Millennials’ brains live and breathe technology. Therefore, they can respond to dozens of stimuli. If you have a job where people need to be able to handle a dozen tasks coming at them at once, a millennial will be able to handle it with aplomb. It’s just like Tetris!
Millennials are a rapidly growing portion of the workforce and are slowly moving into upper management as they age into their 30s. The workplace will need to change to keep up with them as it has for every other generation before them.
If you’re working with or hiring millennials, you might struggle at first with the different ways that they view work and the office. However, go a little beneath the surface, and you’ll find people who are just as interested in success. You may even find your next great coworker or employee.