How Millennials Approach Work

The following article is submitted on behalf of Capgemini NA’s Millennial Innovation Council (MIC) Employee Resource Group (ERG).  The mission of MIC is to engage all employees to strategically position Capgemini in raising its future generation of talent in a changing business environment and an evolving world.

As the Millennial generation grows older, more of us are starting to have major responsibilities in the workforce and in society. In response to that, there are many studies, articles, and videos published by the media analyzing our generation. One of my favorites is a Ted Talk by Scott Hess titled “Millennials: Who They Are & Why We Hate Them.” While the Ted Talk is a comical comparison between Gen X and Gen Y, it has many important insights about beliefs that Millennials share. Many of these have an impact on how our generation approaches work, but there were three in particular that stand out:

“Career lubricated by conscience”:  The first belief revolves around the way we approach business from a consumer perspective. When we make purchases as consumers we don’t only consider the function and look of the item, we consider the overall philosophy that the item represents. That’s why brands like Apple, TOMS, and Chipotle are among the most popular in our generation. Hess calls this “commerce lubricated by conscience.”

We bring this same mentality to the work place. We’re not content with just having a secure, good paying job–we want to work for a company that has an identity and philosophy that inspires us. There are many problems in this world, and we want to spend our time at work coming up with innovative solutions. We are very conscious of our overall impact and we’re willing to break the current corporate mold in order to do that.

“Work-life Integration”:  Another important change in belief for our generation is the evolution of work-life balance into what Hess calls “work-life integration.” We believe that the ideal job to have is one that doesn’t feel like a job. Some people mistake this for laziness, however, we are willing to work even harder and sacrifice more to achieve this level of integration in our careers.

A lot of these beliefs stem from the way we were raised. We grew up in the age of self-made entrepreneurs, where people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg, inspired by their own visions for the future, dropped out of college in order to start some of today’s most successful companies in the world. These entrepreneurial leaders showed us that our jobs could be something more than just a job, and we should aspire to have the autonomy to define our ideal career based on our overall life goals.

“Road Trip Mentality”:  Similar to the generations before us, we also share many similar life goals. The biggest difference though from previous generations is in our approach to achieving these goals. Hess says that Millennials are still willing to follow a roadmap, but “to the roadmap they apply a road trip mentality.” We’re willing to work towards goals and hit specific milestones that our companies want us to reach. We just want the flexibility to adjust our path based our growth and experiences along the way. Life for us is not as simple as the non-stop flight across the country. We are willing to change the route of our careers, make a couple of layovers on the way to our final destination, so that we can enjoy a unique experience or take advantage of a brand new opportunity.

This is not to say that our generation is better or worse than any previous generation or any generation that will come after us. However, through understanding of our generational career aspirational differences, we can learn how to work better together and ultimately propel Capgemini to the next level. At this point the Millennial generation is a growing group of young professionals who are still learning about ourselves and the overall impact we want to have. We are excited to see what great ideas and changes we will bring to the work place in the future.

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