CHILDHOOD INFLUENCES PART 1: 6 Childhood Influences that Shape The Millennial Workforce .
All parents and carers want the best for their children. But has our Gen X/Baby Boomer parenting style actually hindered our children’s ability to successfully adapt to a professional workplace? In my blog post today, I’m exploring 6 of the key problems facing millennial workers in 2019, and finding out just how much their childhood influences may have contributed to their working attitudes.
WHAT HAPPENS: Parents fight for their kids to have more opportunity than they had. Education, at home and school, revolves around building self-esteem (schools are required to teach this). Children are taught to expect unconditional parental dedication.
BENEFIT FOR THE WORKPLACE: Children have more rights today than ever before. Hopefully this means adults will feel secure, know they deserve decent treatment, and know how to treat others well by the time they get to work.
POTENTIAL PROBLEM: The Wall Street Journal (2008) reported millennials as having a greater sense of entitlement than older workers. Millennials have been branded the most
narcissistic generation ever. The work place is plagued by demands for lengthy Sabbaticals early into their career, returning in the expectation of a promotion, whilst working flexi-hours from Starbucks in a pair of ripped jeans. I’ve heard managers express bewilderment at millennial grads, who expect to work major projects, without having to prove themselves first. The entitlement instilled in children from a
young age can become toxic.
- ACCOMMODATED FOR.
WHAT HAPPENS: Child-centred education means kids are encouraged to develop freely at their own pace. Teachers are meant to provide careful, supportive ‘scaffolding’ for children to help them learn. Being too firm in criticism is discouraged, in case a child’s confidence is knocked. ‘Helicopter parenting’ is when parents hover around their children, making sure they have everything their little hearts desire.
BENEFIT FOR THE WORKPLACE: The hope is that children develop autonomy and independence in work. Also, parents make sure their child is not overlooked in the education system, so more kids thrive.
POTENTIAL PROBLEM: At work there are targets and deadlines which need to be met. Boundaries are clear and it can be confidence crushing, when as Tulgan says: ‘Not Everyone Gets a Trophy’. Helicopter parents can stop children developing independence: just as they called the head teacher to get their child moved up in Maths, parents have been accused of calling up the boss asking for their child to be promoted. ‘Bring your parents to work day’, parental newsletters and email updates are all things that actually happen in some US companies!
The problem speaks for itself.
- CONVENIENCE AND VARIETY.
WHAT HAPPENS: The organic milk comes with the online shop. A variety of sushi will be picked up for dinner. Nowadays everything is convenient, everything can come to you, as and when you need it…organic, gluten-free, lactose-free, or juiced, it can be delivered to your fridge door. Amazon, Deliveroo, Asos, Google… overwhelming choice at a click of a button (with iphoneX just a glance).
BENEFIT FOR THE WORKPLACE: A lot more gets done in a world with a lot more to do! Did you know more than a million millennials are becoming Mums each year? And there are
now more working Mums than ever – Amazon, online Doctor’s appointments, nannycams … how else could they all stay at work for as long as they need to?
POTENTIAL PROBLEM: Accommodating others might be a new experience! I hear millennials pushing for flexi-hours and informal dress codes over and over again. Limitation is just not cool – it suffocates and stunts. Opportunity and choice is what they want. After using Netflix there’s no return.
WHAT HAPPENS: Technology, possessions, houses and jobs; these are all things that come and go for millennials. ‘Getting rid of’ and ‘moving on’ is a common part of daily living. And so, if work is not working, the job can change. Millennials make no secret of expecting to upgrade jobs every couple of years, just like they do with their phone (unless there is a major reason not to).
BENEFITS FOR THE WORKPLACE: Millennials know how to move on after a bad day at the office. They let it go (Frozen is doing a great job at instilling this message). They will also ensure their tech equipment is up-to-date, always upgrading.
POTENTIAL PROBLEM: If there is a problem, instinct is not to fix it, but chuck it and move on (a bit like a nappy –they never used to be disposable!). Employees can be fickle. When interviewing millennials, I found that the option of leaving came before sharing concerns and working through problems. Moving on to the next great thing is an exciting prospect.
WHAT HAPPENS: Resigning over WhatsApp, yes this may be exaggerated, but the point remains – communication is different to what it was. Social media, technology, smart phones… these have changed the face of communication and language use (on that note lusms means love you so much).
BENEFITS FOR THE WORKPLACE: High tech skills. They will use your tech systems well and may even develop them, along with your social media.
POTENTIAL PROBLEM: Having received a condolence message, signed lol, I can testify that
communication can be haphazard (lol usually means laugh out loud, they thought it meant lots of love). Working with teens I have realised how important it is to teach them to write formal emails in full English, with grammar, to avoid rudeness.
- SOCIAL MEDIA.
WHAT HAPPENS: WhatsApp is one of many forms of social media, a space for ongoing interaction, communication, sharing and feedback. As quickly as a picture is posted, feedback comes flowing through, in the form of likes, laughs, loves and comments.
BENEFITS FOR THE WORKPLACE: Online communication is second nature – millennials will be able to work well interactively. They are more connected than ever, something that has been found to raise business performance.
POTENTIAL PROBLEM: Forbes reports face-to-face communication can be daunting as it is something they are not used to (all you have to do nowadays is swipe right for a date). Also, social media releases dopamine, an addictive chemical associated with pleasure, also released when gambling, smoking, drinking… and hugging! So, when there is no ongoing feedback, there is no buzz, leaving them feeling low and worthless. The world millennials are brought up in can be so different from the place they work in. This can lead to a lot of problems, but these can only be tackled once we know how to spot them.