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Bill Grady, IBM Brand Strategist

Bill Grady, IBM Brand Strategist

By Bill Grady

We prefer texting to phone calls and we expect integrated and seamless experiences with technology. We are the first generation to have grown up in the midst of a digital revolution, where information and answers are just a few clicks away. We are Millennials.

There’s been a lot written about Millennials. This generation, born roughly between 1980 and 1995, is already the largest in the workforce and will make up 75% of the world’s workforce by 2030. The change is disruptive.

Most articles about Millennials delve into dating culture, digital lives and even eating habits. Yet among all of that chatter, there is very little understood about what impact we are having in the workplace.

How are Millennials alike or different from our colleagues? Are the stereotypes about us true?  And, what changes must we make in our organizations?

To answer some of these questions, today IBM is releasing the results of a global study on Millennials in the workplace, of which I was a co-author. Essentially, after surveying more than 1,775 employees from organizations of all sizes, across 12 countries, we found that Millennials’ expectations are the gold standard for what everyone wants.

The attributes that Millennials value, such as transparency, collaboration and innovation, and easy access to mobile and social tools, are welcome changes that benefit everyone. This means that transformation initiatives can be inclusive, rather than aimed at just one age group.

Our research debunks five common myths about Millennials and uncovers uncomfortable truths for employees of all ages. For example, I often hear that Millennials’ career goals are unrealistic and they expect a lot more from their job than other generations. That simply isn’t true. As it turns out, Millennials place much the same weight on many of the same career goals as their older colleagues.

Another classic stereotype – because everyone on our soccer team got a trophy – we need endless praise and constant acclaim.  Believe it or not, respondents around the world told us that the most important factors are a boss who is ethical and fair and shares information. Further down the list for Millennials? A boss who recognizes their accomplishments.

Funny enough, it’s Gen X employees, not Millennials, who are more likely to think everyone on a successful team should be rewarded. 64 percent of Gen Xers agreed with this statement compared to 55 percent of Millennials.

At IBM, Millennials are driving much of our transformation — from how we recruit and train employees, to how we engage with our clients.  As a designer, I’m particularly excited about the big difference our Millennials are making in software design.

IBM has changed the way we design our products, which are now tailored to the digital expectations of Millennial users. Millennial designers are embedded in product development teams to help them understand the specific needs of Millennial users. For example, last year IBM Bluemix, our cloud developer platform, was the first result of this new approach. IBM Verse, our new social email tool, was designed by Millennials, with Millennials in mind.  The same is true for the rest of IBM’s software portfolio – data analytics, security, mobile – all designed with strong Millennial influence.

Our study leaves no doubt that Millennials are fundamentally reshaping the way people work, and that organizations must transform themselves to remain relevant. While they might be more inclined to send a text than make a phone call, the fact is, Millennials are essential to our workforce. And the opportunity is enormous.

____________________________________

To read the full study, visit www.ibm.biz/millennialmyths.  

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13 Comments
 
June 13, 2016
7:26 am

Good job. Keep it up.


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June 17, 2015
3:29 am

Nice comment. I like…”Another classic stereotype – because everyone on our soccer team got a trophy – we need endless praise and constant acclaim. Believe it or not, respondents around the world told us that the most important factors are a boss who is ethical and fair and shares information. Further down the list for Millennials? A boss who recognizes their accomplishments:


Posted by: Dennis
 
March 1, 2015
5:01 pm

Millennials are somewhat the pioneers for the upcoming generations. The GenX has somewhat outlived their usefulness and had been somewhat useful earlier on when it came to issues like capital.


Posted by: Big Data Solutions Pakistan
 
February 24, 2015
11:03 am

this article is kind of like a trophy…


Posted by: derek
 
February 23, 2015
6:39 pm

Thanks for the response Bill, I hadn’t considered that the difference in population sizes might be so great, but I can see that that might skew the result. I’ve looked at the secondary source you linked and can see that the author quotes those numbers, although it’s not clear from where?
Regardless it’s an interesting study, and well done overall.


Posted by: Richard Hogan
 
February 23, 2015
9:01 am

Hi, Richard: The key to reading the data is that the generations’ population sizes are not equal. The Baby Boomers were a huge group (hence their name) and their kids (Millennials) are even larger. Gen X and their kids (Z) are smaller populations. In 2030, Boomers will have exited the workforce, leaving the large Millennials group bookended by the smaller X and Z populations.

Our data on this point came from secondary sources, including http://onforb.es/1s989mj. We verified the current numbers against the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and other countries’ labor stats. The forecasts should also be fairly reliable since workers in 2030 have already been born, but variance between forecasts comes from estimating the age when people will retire, and from differing dates used for generation splits.


Posted by: Bill Grady
 
February 22, 2015
11:05 am

works must be glad


Posted by: Borobudur Cinema
 
February 22, 2015
7:40 am

>>>”. . .generation, born roughly between 1980 and 1995, is already the largest in the workforce and will make up 75% of the world’s workforce by 2030″
Bill, How is that calculated? It’s not intuitive that people aged 35 to 50 will make up 75% of the workforce in 2030. Does this assume that most of the 50 – 65 year olds will have left the workforce in 2030, and that very few of the 20 – 35 year olds will have entered the work force at that point?

Richard


Posted by: Richard Hogan
 
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March 15, 2015
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