Why Millennials Aren’t Entitled, They’re Empowered

By Elijah Pantoja

Millennials have earned a bad rep as employees.

Many articles within the past few years have claimed that this generation of workers is entitled, narcissistic, and lazy. The culture of “everyone is a winner” is what many consider to be at the root of the problem. However, what experts and commentators fail to consider is the responsibility of the employer.

In a world where the youngest members of the workforce are placing a higher value on development as critical to their work environment and loyalty to a company, employers need to review and revise their management practices.

Traditional business models suggest that prestige and success are achieved by climbing the corporate ladder within a single department. This is also often referred to as vertical development. In more recent times, millennial employees have begun to favor horizontal development. This model encourages employers to ensure that the workplace is a learning environment where employees are constantly developing new skills and feel fulfilled by their position.

Our own intern Sammi Fischer has expressed similar sentiment.

When asked about what she looks for in a workplace, she responded by emphasizing, “strong communication between employees, and the ability to learn new skills on the job”.

This preference for development demonstrates just why millennials are empowered. While committing to the prosperity of a company, they simultaneously desire mentorship and opportunities for growth. When employers are able to offer workers growth, they experience a higher retention rate. Therefore, this younger generation’s desire for growth and investment from the employer is a benefit for both parties. The workforce feels productive and as though they are a part of something bigger, while employers gain more skilled and loyal employees.

Indeed, some companies have already begun listening to millennial voices and are constructing more nurturing work environments. Businesses such as Netflix and Amazon have offered unlimited vacation policies for over a decade now. Since Netflix introduced this policy in 2004, their market cap has grown to $51 million. Policies such as unlimited vacation, free public transportation passes, and on-site childcare demonstrate that employers are invested in the health, well-being, and success of their workers. In turn, trust is further developed and management can fairly expect and receive more quality work from their employees.

Horizontal growth presents the workforce with an opportunity to understand and excel in many facets within a firm. Constantly working with new teams, honing new skills, and understanding different departments creates valuable human capital for a company. Additionally, it provides employers with more well-rounded employees, a necessity in an economy that is becoming more technologically-dependent and interconnected.

UFWD Participants 7060

Following this model, the Music Forward Foundation helps individuals to gain valuable experience within the world of entertainment to boost their competitiveness in the job market, and shaping their expectations of work within the industry. With the experience that participants gain during the program, they are able to learn how to effectively communicate within a workplace. The experience Music Forward offers, as well as the tools provided such as interview preparation, resume building, and other professional resources provides youth with the confidence to utilize their voice to ask questions and in turn feel empowered to grow professionally when entering a career field. This helps them to effectively communicate with their management in order to create a healthy balance between horizontal and vertical development.

TIME: The Me Me Me Generation
Daily Mail: Millennials Are Entitled, Lazy, and Narcissistic…
Gallup: Millennials Want Jobs to be Development Opportunities
Forbes: The Benefits of Horizontal Vs. Vertical Career Growth
Fortune: Three Things Millennials Want In A Career…
Forbes: Why Every Employee Should Have Unlimited Vacation Days
Forbes: What Modern Workflow Means for Millennial Career Development
Harvard Business Review: What Millennials Want From a New Job