At 80 million strong, Millennials have somehow turned the “selfie” into a profession, are becoming millionaires before the ripe age of 20, and are changing the future of work. Yet they have a reputation of being an entitled and self-centered generation…but are they?
Here’s what I’ve learned from mentoring Millennials:
They are social media gurus.
As the most connected generation in human history, Millennials were born with the skills to network. They will read Yelp reviews before giving you their business, research on LinkedIn before they walk into an interview, and can probably give you better social media advice than most of your colleagues. Last April, I started working with one of my mentees, Kirby, to expand my social presence and have since tripled my following. I’ve learned that social media is a day-to-day effort, and it cannot be an afterthought!
Social media is not just for oversharing.
In an age where everything is just one tap of a finger from being shared with the world, privacy must be a virtue. My journey online has been a long and personal one, and at first it was challenging to find the balance between what to reveal about myself while keeping a professional image. However, with time I’m slowly discovering that balance. Now, I try to spend 30 minutes a day browsing through my feed to stay current with my peers or experts in the industry.
Trust them to give a fresh new perspective.
Millennials have an eye for making things stick and capturing an audience. I like to involve Millennials in design or content projects, keynotes for events, and especially brainstorming sessions – particularly if they don’t have a history with the company. If they can’t understand what you plan to present, how will your audience understand it? Their fresh perspective helps make our content more digestible as they ask the right questions and help develop ways to make it memorable.
Being formal is overrated.
Interacting with Millenials has taught me to be more casual with my work style in the office – for example, providing real-time feedback or capitalizing on opportunities to learn without formalities. Pushing boundaries of what you can be above and beyond just your job description. In fact, my mentees Amalia and Elyse have both expressed that my approachability and openness has been very beneficial for our relationship. Sometimes not having a prescribed, formalized way of working can be refreshing!
Stay true to your passion.
What I see most in this generation is their ability to love what they do. They always manage to integrate their passion into their everyday life. I love talking to Kirby about her passion for yoga and French, but I also see it as an opportunity to connect her with other colleagues who have similar interests. They make time to balance it all out – and it inspires me to do the same. As we grow older, we tend to lose our drive to innovate…but my mentees remind me that no matter what age, we should always keep our passion alive.
What have you learned from Millennials? Share your stories with me on Twitter@DVuBroady!
For more insight on tapping the full potential of a diverse workforce, see 4 Ways to Take Advantage of the Talent Ecosystem.