Born into the world of digital data, giving them the upper hand when it comes to understanding technology, Millennials are often seen as entitled by other generations in the workplace. Millennials live and breathe technology and consider apps such as Google Drive, Google Classroom, and Dropbox commonplace and integral to workplace productivity.
According to Pew Research, 35% of all American labor force participants are millennials. In a study conducted by Penn Shoen Berland (PSB), 42% of millennials agreed they would leave a company due to “substandard technology.” Most millennial employees believe in having the freedom to personalize their workday by choosing the best SaaS apps that fit them.
A generation of problem-solvers, Millennials will find, discover, or create better technology if not satisfied with the technology offered to them. They don’t allow anything from stopping them from having a voice to make an impact regarding their passions, even if it means taking a huge risk.
The Misunderstood Millennial in the Workplace
Millennials know they’re the most educated generation and aren’t afraid to use their knowledge in the workplace to make the best of their opportunities, contributing to their work environment. Often this is mistaken as arrogance or entitlement. Instead, it’s more about their choice to use their advanced education to their advantage.
Like most adults, Millennials want to do things independently, the way they see as best. Although very independent, they sometimes lack certain skills before starting a new job, but adapt and discover their best method of working within an organization. This is often misunderstood as stubbornness or needing extra help, but they would rather figure things out in their way.
Today’s technology saves Millennials from wasting time on once unavoidable, lengthy, work tasks. Millennials use the countless apps on the market, saving themselves hours of job-related work, more so than other generations. Mistaken for laziness and a lack of desire to work hard, it’s really about their desire to work more efficiently.
Decentralized IT vs Centralized IT with Millennials in the Workplace
In 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Due to this, management teams of large corporations are starting to evolve, giving near-complete freedom to employees, offering more flexibility, in hopes of encouraging more responsibility in the workplace. This decentralized IT is beginning to replace centralized IT and becoming more popular among companies with large populations of millennial employees.
While younger generations prefer decentralized IT, older generations tend to believe that centralized IT is more effective in the workplace, but at this point no one knows which approach is better overall. Especially since most employees that prefer centralized IT resist giving it up, citing it provides more security and consistency, and haven’t yet experienced a more decentralized approach.
How Millennial IT Professionals are Changing the Workplace
Millennial IT Professionals don’t want to be confined by rules.
They desire the freedom to choose how and where they work. They want their ideas to be treated the same as anyone else’s in the company and opportunities for those ideas to give them advancement opportunities within the company. They do not conform to the standard seniority hierarchical structure of traditional organizations.
Millennial IT Professionals enjoy working in a collaborative environment.
Millennials desire constant feedback to make sure they are on track, which requires high responsiveness from their colleagues. SaaS tools like Slack and Asana make collaboration easy and instant, rather than outdated methods of email and numerous face-to-face meetings.
Millennial IT Professionals desire to see the purpose or bigger picture for their role.
A millennial’s priority is being a part of something bigger than themselves, not necessarily a stable paycheck. To keep employees motivated many companies are mixing in their IT department into other roles such as product development or exposing them to other areas of the company beyond IT.
It all comes down to this:
Younger pros are thinking forward and asking what tools are necessary to help get my work done most efficiently and comfortably possible? While older IT pros want IT to maintain strict control while other employees listen.
In 1968, LIFE Magazine ran a cover story on the “Generation Gap,” describing young Baby Boomers as “privileged, narcissistic, entitled, spoiled, lazy” young people.
TIME ran a similar story on young Gen Xers in 1990, calling them “lazy, entitled, selfish, shallow, unambitious shoe-gazers . . . [who] have trouble making decisions. They would rather hike in the Himalayas than climb the corporate ladder.”
Today, in 2019, we are having the same argument about the generation before us and behind us.