Millennials often get a bad rap, yet Dr. Jessica Kreigel author of Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit from Ditching Generational Sterotypes says you should reconsider this negative stereotype. Kreigel says that unfairly labeling young people can hinder your business. Kriegel says that generational stereotyping is unfair because there are “so many contradictions in the research findings, so many assumptions based on small sample sizes, and based on anecdotal information.” Kreigel argues that millennials can enhance your business.
Kreigel disputes the common assumption around millennials is that they are the less loyal to their employers. However, research finds that employees aged 24-34 had an average turnover rate of 3 years, compared with 10 years for employees aged 55-65. Yet, those same older employees had the same turnover rate to back in the 1980s when baby boomers were in their twenties.
The consequences are that we make assumptions about people around us based on their labels -- and often, we're just plain wrong. Generational stereotyping oversimplifies the complexity of the human condition. By slapping a label on 80 million people, we are denying diversity within that group. Some millennials are 16 years old, while others are 36. Some millennials are illegal immigrants in the Midwest while others are CEOs in Silicon Valley. When we make assumptions about a large group of people, we prevent ourselves from actually getting to know them, and we lose true understanding.
What advice does Kreigel gives to business leaders on avoiding generational stereotypes?
- Check your bias by refraining from making broad assumptions about millennials.
- Communicate more by putting effort into getting to know your employees as individuals, rather than a group.
- Be careful with the language you use by not turning “a statistic or notion about millennial population into a judgment.”
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