Five Millennial Stereotypes and How They Complete the Workplace

Hannah Greenwood | | Employee Communications

millennials at work

You see millennials at work every day, completing the typical 40 hours a week. You share an office with them. You speak to them in meetings, during coffee breaks or over daily tasks. They are your co-workers and they all come with unique personalities. When employers begin the employee-onboarding process, they aim to hire a variety of experience levels, age groups and characteristics. In 2019, millennials make up most of the workforce, where we must learn to adapt and blend in with our co-workers. Collectively, we must help unify the corporate culture and appreciate all the ingredients that go into it.

Here's an overview of five stereotypical millennials you may know at work (and how to work with them in the most effective way).

1) The Intern

This position isn’t just about getting coffee and making endless copies – it's become a valuable experience for new and soon-to-be college (and sometimes high school) graduates. This position is the most cost effective for employers and it allows them to bring in a younger generation’s perspective. It's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Stereotypical traits: inexperienced, eager, vulnerable, technologically inclined

Why we need them: Interns provide a new outlook on technology and specific industries. They're moldable and willing to learn because they want to be successful.

How to work with them: Become a mentor, take them under your wing. You need to be willing to teach but also willing to learn from them. Give them some autonomy but answer their questions too.

2) The Perfectionist

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We all know that co-worker who's a self-proclaimed type-A personality.  Not all millennials at work or their older counterparts can relate, and it can sometimes be frustrating when getting close to a deadline, but these types of employees are important in making the workplace run smoothly.

Stereotypical traits: detail oriented, goal oriented, organized, particular

Why we need them: Perfectionists ensure work being performed is correct and of the best quality. They're the most qualified to complete the final review before sending something out to the public or to a client.

How to work with them: Utilize their stellar proofreading and checking skills. Learn from their attention to detail.

3) The Big Boss

This person may be intimidating to most.  They can come off as very serious and unapproachable – all business, if you will.  But this major player is building the workforce, making it run like a well-oiled machine behind the scenes.  Without the Big Boss, decisions would be left unmade and you would be left unpaid.

Stereotypical traits: stern, strong willed, intelligent, experienced, outspoken

Why we need them: You may be executing the tasks, but the Big Boss created the big picture. They hand-pick employees like you because they believe you have the capabilities to cultivate the business and bring it success. They have a vision and they're passionate about making it a reality.

How to work with them: Be a good listener and always ready for a challenge. Treat them like a normal person (professionally, of course) and don’t let your insecurities take over. Be honest and diligent. They appreciate it and will take notice.

4) The Boss’ Pet

HR communications videosWhether this position is called the executive assistant or “secretary,” we all know these co-workers and many of them are millennials at work or even members of Generation Z just entering the workforce. They're strictly by the book and not the best person to gossip or complain to. You may not favor this person, but you know they take pride in their job.

Stereotypical traits: loyal, hard working, try hard, conscientious

Why we need them: The Boss' Pet works as their back-up brain. The Boss' Pet reminds them about appointments, meetings, projects and more. They help move things along so work gets done in an efficient and organized matter.

How to work with them: Utilize them for reminding your boss about projects you're working on with important deadlines. Ask them for tips on keeping your work systematized so nothing falls through the cracks.

5) The Work/Life Balancer

This millennial at work may come off as the slacker of the bunch. They believe taking a walk around the office every few hours is necessary for their health and they always take advantage of their vacation or PTO time. These employees value the idea of creating harmony between their work and personal lives – not one over the other.

Stereotypical traits: free spirited, open minded, health conscious

Why we need them: Work/Life Balancers remind us to take care of ourselves. They help provide a sense of calm in the workplace. You may perceive them as too laissez-faire on certain duties but overall, you appreciate their vibes.

How to work with them:  Respect their process and remember that everyone has a different work style. Don’t be afraid to encourage and push them from time to time. Take note on some of their balance practices and implement them in your own work style to maintain stability.

Love them or hate them, each of these personalities help make up the workplace and contribute value in ways you may not realize. I have come to appreciate the different characteristics of my co-workers, many of them millennials at work, because in one way or another, they molded me into the employee I am today. Whether they're the eager Intern, the particular Perfectionist, the all-business Big Boss, the loyal Boss’ Pet or the laid-back Work/Life Balancer, they all have a place.  Which type are you?

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