A lot has been researched, written and presented in the last few years on this topic. Many research studies point out that by 2020 Asia will have 60% of the world’s millennial population and that is a big reason for any marketer like me to be to be interested in this subject. I have been keenly following the debate on how the Millennial generation is uniquely different in their thinking from Generation X. And although it’s tough to make personality generalizations of Millennials across countries, culture and religion, I do believe that there are certain common characteristics that seem to be emerging among this generation. I have had the good fortune to have many friends in the Millennial generation and from whatever I have experienced and read about them makes me optimistic about the future. Matter of fact, I wish that the Millennial personality doesn’t remain restricted to a specific generation, but gets translated into a certain mindset that any age group can live by. I keep hearing so many negatives about the Millennial generation from my peers, but I say they have it totally wrong.
A) On the matter of respect, conformity and speaking their mind:
They respect authority only if the person or establishment in charge is doing a good job and delivering the results they have promised. Respect for the sake of a title is very old school. And people in leadership positions across society and business need to start learning how to earn respect rather than hide behind a position and demand it. They need to be also open to feedback and improve and I feel this way of thinking will bring a new level of accountability across the society we live in. The Millennials are not so obsessed about being politically correct, they rather do the right thing than pretend to like something. For brands and marketers the implication is that the days of marketing empty or half baked promises are gone. You need to deliver on what you promise and should be open to have a dialogue with your customers when this is not happening. The Millennials don’t want to be passive recipients of your messages they want to experience and have a sense of involvement with your brand, they need to be a part of your marketing and business decisions.
B) On being lazy and disloyal employees: Somewhat related to the first point. I have seen Millennials work hard, but it’s when they are totally convinced that it’s for the right cause, chasing a specific vision or a goal. Nobody should expect anyone to work brainlessly like a donkey without articulating what the end result is going to be. Every job and work anyone puts in, no matter at what level, makes a contribution to the collective vision. But the onus of articulating the vision is on the managers and employers. I don’t think they want their job to be the most important one, what they are looking for is someone to tell them what piece of the puzzle are they helping with. If you can’t explain it, then they will quit. They are also a very connected generation which is good because this will force organizations to be more transparent to their employees and consumers in general and will also get them to act responsibly and make a difference in the communities they operate in.
C) On being self centered and self-obsessed narcissists: Just because this generation loves their Selfies it doesn’t make them self centered. Contrary to this view the Millennials, I have interacted with are typically collaborative in nature, love to be a team player and care about the world they live in. They are not so obsessed by the pursuit of possessions, but they rather have the complete package which is the right kind of success with happiness and contribution to society. Not having greed is a good thing for this world.
And no I am not a Millennial as per the classic definition, but I would like to believe I have the millennial mindset.