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5 millennials-in-the-workplace myths busted

Tom Kaneshige | Oct. 2, 2013
Forget what you think you know about Generation Y. A recent survey dispels many of the myths surrounding millennials and the digital culture. Turns out age may be nothing but a number.

Ever get the feeling that older people just don't get you? That's the bane of every younger generation, which is now squarely on the shoulders of millennials, also called GenY and Digital Natives.

Millennials, which one survey qualifies as 18- to 32-year-olds, are shaping the always-on digital culture. They're supposedly dreaming of carrying and now wearing the latest gadgets and gizmos. They've been called "spoiled" and "entitled" and "disrespectful" by older workers.

But how much of this is myth?

A new survey by Cornerstone OnDemand on workplace productivity sheds light on the various generations in the workplace. Kelton, a consultancy and researcher, surveyed 1,029 U.S. employees in August on behalf of Cornerstone OnDemand about worker habits related to technology. The survey debunked many millennial stereotypes.

Here are five busted myths.

Myth 1: Millennials crave information. You can never have too much, the thinking goes. Older people who wait a whole day to get yesterday's news on a piece of cheap paper thrown on their porches are fools. With Twitter, Facebook and news alerts on their smartphones, millennials are the first to know everything.

After all, who wants to unplug?

Busted: While it's true that twice as many millennials depend more on their smartphones for work (and are more likely to opt in to a BYOD program) compared to older generations, they feel the most overwhelmed by information overload. Signs also point to gadget fatigue among millenials.

In the Cornerstone OnDemand survey, information overload was cited by 41 percent of millennials compared to 31 percent among older generations. Technology overload was cited by 38 percent compared to 20 percent.

Myth 2: Millennials don't care about privacy. After all, they freely share their lives on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Busted: Sure, millennials share a lot about themselves on social networks. But this makes them even more wary of privacy - young people know what can go wrong.

A recent MobileIron survey of 3,000 workers across the United States, United Kingdom and Germany found that employees over 55 (the Cold War generation) were far more comfortable than 18 to 24 year olds with their company seeing their personal data. One of the most popular iPhone apps among millennials is Snapchat, which lets you share a photo or video and then deletes it after a matter of second time.

Myth 3: Need to tell a millennial something? Be quick about it. Shoot a text message or start a video chat. Don't type out a long email, because they don't regularly check email or even want to read one. It's all about 140 characters or less. What about a conversation face-to-face? What a waste.


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