Millennials are changing the way work is done nationwide, much to the surprise of many baby boomers and other earlier generations.
As a millennial herself, Gabrielle Bosché has a unique perspective on the needs and interests of her own generation.
Far from being entitled, Bosché says “millennials have been told from a very young age that we can do anything that we want, and be anything that we want. Guess what? We listened.”
“We have a high level of confidence, we’re excited about being in the workforce, and leaders today should take advantage of that,” said the author of Five Millennial Myths: The Handbook for Managing and Motivating Millennials.
Business owners should understand they won’t be able to hang onto all of their millennial employees. According to Bosché, “the average millennial will leave her job every eleven months” in the D.C. area, whereas the national average is 2-3 years.
Contrary to the assumption, “millennials aren’t leaving for more money, they’re leaving for more opportunity,” she told What’s Working in Washington. “They want training and development opportunities. So it’s important for business leaders to understand they’re not just investing in their employees, they’re investing in future leaders.”
Another myth about millennials is that they want to be independent, not listening to their managers. In fact, many millennials “are looking to people of other generations to provide introspection, coaching, mentoring,” and other guidance, said Bosché.
“Millennials want to have mentors and coaches in their life,” she said, adding that companies with mentoring programs have a millennial retention rate up to two times higher than average.
One of the few “myths” that actually is true is the assertion that millennials are tech-obsessed. However, not for the reason that many older generations assume.
Millennials also use technology, especially social media, in different ways than older generations. Instead of using sites like Facebook for the purpose of keeping in contact with friends, many millennials use it as a tool of self-promotion and marketing.
“I think that millennials do understand that our persona online is going to be very different” from the person they are in real life, said Bosché.
It’s also a misconception to assume that millennials are simply driven by money. Instead, many millennials are “motivated by mission,” Bosché said. She added that the main three focuses of a millennial in a career search are “the people, the profit, but of course the planet.” Millennials want the company they work for to have a higher purpose, and a hand in achieving that purpose.
The greater Washington region works well as a confluence for many millennial values. “D.C. consistently ranks in the top five locations for millennials to move to in the country,” Bosché said, citing upward career mobility and great housing.
With area companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers offering programs that repay student debt for millennial employees, D.C. provides great incentives for rising leaders.