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March 16, 2015 Article 2 min read
There’s no question — the Millennial generation (Generation Y) has gotten a bad rap. Entitled. Narcissistic. Opportunistic. These are just a few adjectives often used to describe this generation of people born between 1980 and 2000. Here are a few myths about Millennials and why you shouldn’t believe the hype.
Image of young people jumping in an office environment

Technology trumps one-on-one contact.

Make no mistake about it: Millennials love technology. According to Nielsen, nearly 75 percent feel that new technology makes their lives easier, and 54 percent feel it helps them be closer to their friends and family. At the same time, a study conducted by Future Workplace and Randstad US found that Millennials — and Gen Z — still prefer in-person communications with co-workers and managers instead of email and phone. Millennials also said "communication" was the most important quality of a leader. These findings aren't contradictory; like all generations, Millennials value authentic connections. Employers who fail to realize this are missing the opportunity to develop them.

Millennials have no respect for authority.

Not true at all. The difference is that Millennials aren’t going to respect an authority figure “just because.” You have to earn it. Once you do, however, they tend to be fiercely loyal. In fact, loyalty to immediate supervisors is the number-one reason both Millennials and Generation Xers stay in a position.

Millennials are noncommittal.

Millennials have a reputation as job-hoppers, but that’s not the whole story. According to Gallup, 60 percent of Millennials say they’re open to a new job opportunity – compared with 45 percent of non-Millennial workers – but what’s driving that roving eye? It comes down to low engagement in the workplace, according to the Gallup results, and companies are missing a big opportunity if they don't do more to engage their Millennial workers.

Millennials' decisions to stay — at least for a while — tend to be based on factors like the ability to use their skills and make a difference, have a life, and evolve and shift gears. In many cases, successful retention of Millennials might mean keeping top talent for five years instead of three. Let's be fair; it’s rare these days for a staff member of any age to spend their entire career at one place.

Millennials are entitled.

Much is made of Millennials’ desires to move up the ladder quickly. But ask yourself: What’s at the heart of that desire? It’s not so much entitlement as a desire for recognition and appreciation for a job well done, not to mention higher-paying positions help Millennials pay off their student debt earlier. Things as simple as saying “Great job," or adding a student loan repayment benefit to your organization's package may curb that appetite — at least for a while.