Embracing and Leveraging Millennial Strengths

Entitled.  Self-obsessed. Narcissistic. Distracted. These terms carry a strong negative connotation and without doubt are insulting to any person between the ages of circa 22 – 37. I would even argue that the term “millennial” itself, denotes a negative undertone.

With Millennials being the largest generation in the workforce perhaps it is high time for Gen X, Boomer and Traditional Leaders to stop being so judgmental and get down from their high horses.  The events industry is extremely human-centric and focused on inclusivity and diversity, so we should never typecast or expect team members to assimilate to our mentality. Instead of complaining about the differences in the millennial attitude and style, why not identify and leverage the strengths in these traits, and make our businesses and events even more successful.

Shrinking Attention Span

If content is compelling, strong narrative, clamorous story, captivating visuals, (think Netflix series you have binge watched recently), no one’s attention span dwindles.

Perhaps millennials appear to have a short attention span as they simply are better at filtering out the “white noise” of information overload and focusing on what is really important or what is really of interest to them. 

So if we know that focus is a matter of engagement, and focus increases productivity, efficiency and learning, then as Leaders in the Events Industry we need to ensure that millennials feel connected and passionate about their jobs or the event content being delivered. One way of doing this is by ensuring they see a direct link to their work and the company or event’s strategic plan, goals or desired outcomes.

Digitally Distracted

Let’s also get over the fact that millennials spend perceivably too much time distracted by social media, the internet (be it shopping, dating, reading news etc.) and focus on the bi-product.  It’s time to stop seeing Millennials as tech-obsessed and embrace the fact they are tech-savvy. Millennials have a fearless attitude towards change and technology, including social media platforms and networking systems, so when presented with the opportunity they will implement technology in new and exciting ways both at events and in the workplace.  In today’s world renewed, continued success can only be achieved with access to cutting-edge technology.  With the early adoption of new technological advances your Millennials will keep your organization or events more efficient, creative and global.

Unhealthy Work Ethic, Lack of Loyalty

Are Millennials really guilty of being lazy or are they just guilty of knowing how to prioritize or multi-task (so they don’t get bored), having a more collaborative work style, and of having the ability to work flexibly (from anywhere at any time) given the right technology?

Gone are the days of living to work, the 50-hour work week and heading into retirement after 30 years with the same company! Hello work-life balance, mentorship, and fun collaborative events and working environments.

For some Leaders certain expectations of the Millennial generation can make them feel slightly uncomfortable; in particular expectations around work schedules, salaries, and training and development.  Starting with even a small shift in our organization’s work environment, organizational hierarchy or working hours and overall flexibility can go a long way in stimulating creativity, job satisfaction and most of all retention.

So next time you go to say something about a Millennial co-worker or friend, let’s remember we are all a product of our past influences.  Instead of complaining, think differently.  Let’s be honest with ourselves … aren’t we all a little tired of information overload, easily distracted if we are bored, disconnected from the work we are doing, or burnt out from trying to juggle work and home-life, and ready for some serious change? 

Embrace the Millennials in your life and start working together.

Heidi Hughes

Director, Sales & Marketing, Anvil Centre | President Elect, MPI BC Chapter

A 20-year hospitality sales and marketing professional, Heidi honed her skills working for some of the best hotels chains in the world, including Hyatt Regency, Marriott and Hilton. After almost a decade in conference and convention hotels, she spent several years as Manager, Events and Conference at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) before coming to Anvil Centre as Director, Sales and Marketing. Energetic and positive, her career has evolved from hospitality management, sales and marketing to include event management. Her devotion to being a contributing member of a growing and evolving industry that is continuously setting new and higher standards for best practices is echoed in her extra- curricular work and activities. Heidi is a former Instructor at both the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the Art Institute of Vancouver and is highly active with Meeting Professionals International on both a local chapter and International Level. 

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