What? You may ask, “why would I want to use a young person who doesn’t have a clue about the business world as a resource for my business?
All too often our generation thinks of millennials as lazy, uncaring, self-centered, mooching-off-their-parents youngsters who don’t want to work. Frankly, my parents felt the same way about my generation! It’s an ongoing generation gap that most likely will never change.
My experience has been just the opposite, starting with my own 28 year old son. Alex is bright, motivated, creative, and very hard working. He cares deeply about his family, friends, animals and the environment. He takes time out of his own busy schedule to help others, whether it be fixing their cars, finishing a basement or building a dock!
i have met many young people through my networking activities who are hard-working, passionate about what they do and knowledgeable, considering their much-shorter work history.
Here’s a description of millennials from livescience.com:
“The term Millennials generally refers to the generation of people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. Perhaps the most commonly used birth range for this group is 1982-2000. The Millennial Generation is also known as Generation Y, because it comes after Generation X — those people between the early 1960s and the 1980s. It has also been called the Peter Pan or Boomerang Generation because of the propensity of some to move back in with their parents, perhaps due to economic constraints, and a growing tendency to delay some of the typical adulthood rites of passage like marriage or starting a career.
Millennials have been characterized in a number of different ways. On the negative side, they’ve been described as lazy, narcissistic and prone to jump from job to job. The 2008 book “Trophy Kids” by Ron Alsop discusses how many young people have been rewarded for minimal accomplishments (such as mere participation) in competitive sports, and have unrealistic expectations of working life.
They have also been described in positive ways. They are generally regarded as being more open-minded, and more supportive of gay rights and equal rights for minorities. Other positives adjectives to describe them include confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living.”
One of the most useful skills of a millennial in business is their technical savvy. While many baby boomers still shy away from social media, even though it might be an important part of a marketing plan, updated business programs such as point of sale systems and other operational software, proper use of a website, and the like, millennials will jump right in to the use of new technologies and devices. They have, after all, grown up with them!
A friend of mine had someone who worked for him for 19 years. She used the same software for her work over the years and as improvements were made that increased work efficiency, she refused to embrace the changes. She felt that doing things the old way was more efficient for her because she was comfortable with it. Yet when she retired and my friend hired a young woman to replace her who used the updated software, the work flow became more efficient and even helped eliminate errors.
There’s no doubt in my mind that an inability to adapt to new technologies can keep baby boomers from achieving their business goals. I highly recommend that anyone starting or running a business have a millennial on board for technical advice, if nothing else.