How to Better Understand the Mindset & Motivation of a Millennial

True or false?     Millennials are lazy. Millennials are     entitled. Millennials are     narcissis    tic.

True or false? Millennials are lazy. Millennials are entitled. Millennials are narcissistic.

The Hidden Truth Behind These Statements

Do these statements ring true about millennials in general? Are they true about the millennials you know personally, including the ones in your own family? 

My personal opinion is that the statements are somewhat true, but there is so much more to say about millennials! In spite of any perceived laziness, they are also extremely passionate about pursuing their interests. As for feelings of entitlement, maybe, but I have found them to be willing to work most diligently when attempting to meet and/or finance their goals. And narcissism? Who can blame them for being so completely self-absorbed when social media pretty much demands it? Who's coaching them to live life differently? Some parents and teachers are, but not all.

A Truthful Assessment Regarding Millennial Behavior

millennials in discussion

The truth is, some millennials behave exactly in this manner (lazy, entitled, self-centered) while others do not. Many millennials are often motivated to be industrious rather than lazy and people-centric as opposed to self-centered. As to that whole entitlement thing . . . there's  a lot to say about that one.

The Truth About the Entitlement Factor

Entitlement is associated with thoughts and behaviors such as selfishness, high expectations, demand for the best, and assumption that all will be as one wishes it to be.

My rationale flows something like this: First of all, whose tendency as a young person isn't selfish? And aren't high expectations supposedly a good thing? Parents dish them out on their children constantly. As to wanting the best . . . as long as it's tempered with giving your best, would we rather them aim for less? Regarding assumptions, each of us may need a reality check at times, but that reality may hit millennials especially hard.

The True Potential of Millennials

Below are some quotes and links to both articles and interviews which are meant to help us sort through the labels placed on millennials and perhaps see beyond those negatives to how these millennials are much more than the labels their world has assigned them. While they also  have much good to offer, they still need older generations to make an effort to seek a deeper understanding of them.

working millennial at desk with laptop and coffee

This article is an attempt to take you into their world. By exploring their thoughts, motivations, expectations, and experiences, and by heeding the valuable insights of their managers, we can learn a great deal about how best to work with and guide millennials as they enter the workforce and strive to make their mark upon this world.

Millennials and Maturity

What it means to be a grownup

"Just because you're an adult doesn't mean you're grown up. Growing up means being patient, holding your temper, cutting out the self-pity, and quitting with the righteous indignation." - Brandon Stanton, author of Humans of New York

Perspectives on Millennials  

The desire to make the world a better place  

"I'm very encouraged by millennials and their drive to make the world a better place." - John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market

The gift of individualism  

man on the move

"One of the things I admire most about millennials is they celebrate individualism, and their singularity is encouraged. To be different is to be cool as opposed to weird." - Sutton Foster, American actress

The gift of intellect & the work of serving others  

"These Millennials are volunteering more; they're smarter than ever." - Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor of California

The gift of engagement

"The Millennial Generation will entirely recast the image of youth from downbeat and alienated to upbeat and engaged -- with potentially seismic consequences for America." - Neil Howe and William Strauss, Millennials Rising

Millennials’ Work Ethic

man thinking - wheels turning as clock is ticking

When the work you do everyday matters

"The very first thing I tell every intern on the first day is that their internship exists solely on their resume. As far as I am concerned, they are a full-time member of my team. For all the negative stereotypes about millennials, you would be astounded by how hard they work when they believe their contribution matters." - Jay Samit, American author and digital media innovator

When the correlation between one’s work and one’s purpose is excellence

"The more a business is able to develop and articulate a core purpose and engage with millennials, who equate purpose with business excellence, the greater chances for long-term success." - Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte

What Millennials Want in the Workplace

The opportunity to thrive vs The status quo

"Recruiters sometimes have their wires crossed when it comes to what Millennials really want at work. While fancy perks are great, many Millennials are more excited about growing and thriving at a company that appreciates their talent and will help them continue to learn." Kathryn Minshew, CEO and Co-founder of The Muse

handshake among 3 professionals

Mentoring vs Managing

“Millennials don't want to be managed, they like to be led, coached and mentored. This generation is on fire and ready to go. Are you ready to change the world?” ― Farshad Asl, Best-selling author, international speaker

Hunger for growth & development vs Hunger for the complimentary, “Job well done!”

feedback written on chalkboard - 2 professionals talking

"Millennials tend to appreciate regular feedback because they want to feel that their work matters and that they are making a difference in the workplace. As the youngest generation at most organizations, they also tend to be hungry for growth and development opportunities." - Kathryn Minshew, CEO/Co-founder of The Muse

Stubborn leadership vs Flexible management

"Organizations that can’t—or won’t—customize training, career paths, incentives and work responsibilities need a wake-up call." - Carolyn A. Martin and Bruce Tulgan, authors

Millennials’ Priorities

Communicating core purpose as a priority

"Millennials want to work for organizations that prioritize purpose as well as profit. It's as simple as that." - Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte

words related to purpose and priorities

Culture of the workplace

"Where people work and their environment is becoming more and more important, especially for millennials." - Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber

Central concerns

A recent study by Bentley University revealed 3 priorities held by millennials:

  • Prefer talking with colleagues in person rather than texting or emailing

  • Value health-care benefits more than frequent pay raises and promotions when choosing a job

  • Believe that flexible work schedules make the workplace more productive for people their age

4 millennials using digital devices

Millennials and Technology

Learning by doing vs Learning by questioning

"Millennials, and the generations that follow, are shaping technology. This generation has grown up with computing in the palm of their hands. They are more socially and globally connected through mobile Internet devices than any prior generation. And they don't question; they just learn." - Brad D. Smith, CEO of Intuit

Other Millennial Insights

ways to create a happy work environment

Where millennials thrive

Fascinating interview between Bentley University and YNAB – check it out HERE, “Companies Where Millennials Thrive: You Need a Budget”. Read to the end so you don’t miss the CEO’s top three insights about hiring, employing and retaining millennials.

Addressing alignment

To learn more about addressing alignment between employers and potential employees, click HERE to read the article, “5 Tough Questions for Millennials and Employers”. 

happy coworkers in front of a computer

Workplace culture

For more about creating a workplace culture which millennials will find enticing, click HERE to read, “Create This Sort of Work Environment If You Want To Retain Millennials”.

Hopefully, these thoughts, tidbits of insight, quotes and links will be helpful as you seek to increase your successful engagement with the Millennial generation. Moreover, if Brannon Professionals can serve you as a talent acquisition partner or in your own job search, please connect with us online at