· Tricia Tan  · 5 min read

Should We Believe All We Read About Millennial Work Ethics?

Since Baby Boomers first entered the workforce, the business world has evolved drastically in ways many could not have predicted or expected.

The business culture Boomers were raised on emphasizes finding and securing long-term prospects at a single company, working your way up from the bottom to as high as your talent and ambitions would allow you to go.

It also encouraged sticking with that same company through thick and thin, investing in your skills and professional development, and receiving rock-solid security along the way due to this approach.

The work ethic of the Millennial generation is present in a very different society.

The traditional workplace structures have been heavily resisted by Millennial workers, who also reject conventional job titles and office attire. Office partitions have quite literally fallen and open office ideas have taken their place.

Many Boomers are still employed today, working side by side with their new Millennial coworkers who are generally exhibiting quite a different work ethic, creating a lot of conflict between these two very different cultures.

With the younger members of this generation now in their early 20s, the proportion of Millennials in the workforce is rising. Effective collaboration between the two generations is manageable, but only if we look into the truth about this tech-savvy generation’s perspective on work.

Millennials in the eyes of the older generation

When it comes to work ethics, people outside this generation seem to have a lot to say.

Baby Boomers and Gen X frequently reflect on the early stages of their careers, proudly recalling the sixty, seventy, or even eighty-hour work weeks they once endured with an implied longing for “the good old days.”

There’s talk about how Millennials are typically entitled, indolent, and spoiled. But unfortunately, the older workforce claims, they are far too delicate to withstand the constructive criticism they need.

Millennials are usually painted as impatient, egotistical, and self-centered. They clamor for higher wages and better privileges rather than work hard for them and earn them—perhaps this advocacy irritates the critics the most.

“Why do they have it easy when I toiled for years?”

Or so they say.

The truth is that this generation of workers has a refined perspective, remarkable hustle, and “responsible” work ethics.

Work ethics 101

A person’s dedication to their job is referred to as them having a solid work ethic. Unfortunately, not everyone has a strong work ethic that enables them to value their professional life and success and commit to doing everything necessary to complete the task at hand.

While every employee may show up to work and fulfill their obligations, only some go above and beyond. Employers place great value on workers with good work ethics because they demonstrate tenacity and dedication to their job duties.

Individuals with good work ethics don’t feel frightened by the need to put in the effort to achieve in the workplace since they recognize that hard work is a normal aspect of their jobs.

Establishing a profitable company with contented and devoted team members depends heavily on workplace ethics. High ethical standards can make stakeholders, including workers, investors, customers, and other people involved in workplace operations, feel as though the company is looking out for their interests.

Organizations can maintain a positive influence on those they affect through their processes while keeping the best interests of their employees in mind by purposefully incorporating ethical guidelines into their structure.

Employees and other stakeholders will usually imitate this behavior and uphold the organization’s best interests by carrying out their daily responsibilities ethically.

For instance, employees are often less likely to engage in ecologically hazardous activity that could hurt an organization’s reputation if they are treated fairly and are aware of the organization’s commitment to accountability and environmental sustainability.

This is how workplace ethics establish a mutually beneficial relationship that benefits the organizations and the people impacted by organizational operations.

A Millennial’s work ethics: the truth

Managers and HR leaders frequently complain about the issues Millennials and younger workers have at work.

However, much of the annoyance is more myth than reality and is based on misconceptions and partial truths about younger workers, and in particular the Millennial generation.

1. They are entitled but hardworking

Some Millennials can indeed come across as entitled. But when fully engaged, they can be your most hardworking, dedicated, and committed team members.

Most Millennials desire a voice and a chance to offer suggestions. They object to doing tedious or repetitive tasks.

They desire a life outside of work and demand the freedom to carry out their personal and professional obligations.

But being entitled does not equate to being idle.

Millennials put in a lot of overtime, don’t consider their work done when they leave the workplace and are highly driven. Beyond the responsibilities of their current positions, they aspire to advance within the company.

2. They aspire to do good—in all aspects

Most Millennials want to change the world. A tall order, yes, but they aspire to do good in whichever way possible.

In the workplace, Millennials desire jobs that allow them to make significant contributions to society and pay them fairly. The one does not take the place of the other.

3. They are true digital natives

Millennials are accustomed to using technology. It is ingrained in their friendships and daily activities since they have grown up with it.

Because it eliminates tedious tasks and saves them time, Millennials like technology at work. But after clocking out, Millennials love to socialize and spend time with people near and dear to them, too.

In fact, Millennials’ commitment to the business, job happiness, engagement, and retention depend on how they feel about their workplace communities.

4. They are loyal if you’re loyal in return

Millennials will stay and even attempt to advance inside the company when they are well-compensated and supported.

But Millennials show dedication, not blind loyalty.

They will be on the lookout for better opportunities—what matters to them are compensation, benefits, work-life balance, environment, and a chance for growth and advancement.

To summarize

The truth about Millennials’ work ethics is that they’re just like everyone else. They want to work on exciting projects with colleagues they like, get paid well, and still have time to enjoy their life.

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