If your business is looking to attract Millennials, either to sell them a product or hire them for work, you’ll need to connect with them on their level. That doesn’t mean Snapchatting them about whether or not they want to see the new boat you just got in (although getting on Snapchat is not a bad idea). It means communicating with them in a way that makes them feel respected. And you can’t do that if you go into the conversation with a bunch of stereotypes about Millennials on the brain.
A recent post on Inc.com highlights five “dumb beliefs” about Millennials and why they’re wrong. You can read the article for more detail, but they are:
- Millennials have it easy;
- Millennials are lazy;
- Millennials are job hoppers;
- Millennials are financially irresponsible; and
- Millennials are self-absorbed.
I’ve sat in on a lot of presentations and speeches that love to bash Millennials, talking about all of these stereotypes – whether it’s a seminar on how to sell to them or just a general motivational keynote. It’s all fun for the older generations, I’m sure, but I can tell you that I am instantly turned off by the speaker and disengage quickly. Occasionally, I’ll lock eyes with another Millennial and we’ll share a knowing look. That look usually says "I work 60 hours a week to pay off the student loan that helped me get my degree and thus my career, and so I can also afford to buy healthcare and save for retirement, but I'm financially irresponsible?"
Millennials are your customers now. They’re your employees. The oldest of them are in their mid-30s and the majority have been in or just entering the workforce. If you continue to attribute these stereotypes to the whole group, you’ll lose them. They’ll be turned off to you, your job opportunity and your business. And trust me, as a Millennial you can tell in someone’s speech patterns or behavior how they feel about Millennials.
So if you want to attract a newer, younger customer base and workforce, treat them the way you want Millennials (as they should) to treat Baby Boomers: with respect.
P.S., I would add one more item to the Inc.com list for the industry to consider: