Before I write anything else I’m sure many of you have made assumptions about me in your head (don’t worry we all do it) – I’m lazy, want to make my way to the top quickly without putting in the effort, am constantly in need of feedback before I can do anything else, and all I want is to work from home. I can promise you none of these are true – although I do really like feedback (positive or negative – there’s an invitation to the comments session at the bottom if ever I heard one).
These stereotypes are damaging, not only to me and other people in my generation, but to the workplace as a whole. This is why at Talent Works International we launched GenUp – we wanted to know what makes the different generations tick, what motivates them – and our results are already starting to show us that these stereotypes need to be broken. Because as with most stereotypes there’s a lot about them that’s factually inaccurate.
As we fully launch into our research we are already uncovering some realities that might be different to what we initially thought. I’m not just talking about Millennials here, as self-centred as we might be – I mean about all generations from Baby Boomers to Gen Z. So what stereotypes are we already proving to be inaccurate:
Older generations don’t resent having a boss that’s younger than them
While you might think that people would be a little wary of being managed by someone younger than them – this is far from the case – 95% of the people we surveyed said they’d be either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very comfortable’ having a younger manager. This increases with age of respondent as 97% of Baby Boomers (68% of whom selected ‘very comfortable’) would be happy with a younger manager, and are probably the most likely to have this occur to them.
Older generations aren’t out of sync with technology
This probably isn’t true for every individual (I’ve seen my dad try to work the DVD recorder) but most people of all ages (85% in fact) are at least somewhat comfortable using technology to communicate at work- that includes Skype, video conferencing, and webinars, which I have personally seen stump a few people in their twenties. The percentage of people who are comfortable using technology does drop from 88% of under 21s to 79% of 51-70 year olds but this isn’t as considerable a difference as we might have anticipated. There is no way to avoid technology now – despite technophobic director Paul Greengrass recently saying social media isn’t his thing “I don’t know how to do it. I don’t have any interest in it.” And blaming this on his generation “I’m not of the generation that does it. I was one of the last people I knew to get a phone.” – he still has a phone, probably a smart one at that.
Millennials aren’t lazy
Even if Martha Stewart says so! And it’s not just the American household name who thinks this – there was an infographic making the rounds on LinkedIn recently which listed the cons of millennials as “lazy, unproductive, and self-obsessed” – a damning image of a whole generation indeed. Although younger generations are less enamoured with the idea of working overtime unpaid (no-one is particularly happy about this – overall 68% of respondents disagreed/ strongly disagreed that they should be prepared to work unpaid overtime), younger generations aren’t as disapproving of always being contactable via phone or email at evenings and weekends.
What do you think, is there truth to these stereotypes or do you think by allowing them to be entrenched in our mindsets that we are damaging our experiences within the workplace?