6 Types of Millennials
Updated on March 26, 2020 by Jonathan Mills
It would be easy to classify Millennials into just one monolithic group, and sayings about “entitled” Millennials are common workplace vernacular; but these misguided idioms hide a complex and interesting generation of people. They are also now the largest working group in the United States, surpassing both Generation X and Baby Boomers. Organizations with foresight are learning to understand and work with Millennials, because they are quickly becoming our decision makers and innovators.
There are at least six subcategories of Millennial that will help you understand your employees better, and hopefully partner with them in new ways. Below I have listed each subgroup, along with a brief persona and guidance for building a positive relationship. If you capitalize on this diversity by fostering inspiration and trust in your employees, you can unlock the potential in each Millennial.
Thank you to Chris Folmsbee and Brad Hanna from Burlap for their research and insights about the Millennial generation.
6 Subcategories of Millennial
1 Up & Comers
Up & Comers are tech-savvy, ambitious, highly educated, and smart. They are fully committed to their career and would rather remain single to pursue it. They like to use the latest Mac or iPhone to stay fully connected on social media, managing multiple profiles at once. If given the choice, they would rather come to work in flip-flops, but they’ll wear designer shoes to party in the off-hours.
Up & Comers thrive when autonomous and don’t need much help being motivated. You can inspire them with a connection to a seasoned professional, encouragement to manage their social media, a relaxed dress-code, and opportunities to contribute to your online content. They enjoy happy hours, sporting events, and other exciting social engagements. They also like to stay fit, so make exercise facilities or coaching available.
2 Global Givers
Global Givers are new to the workforce, but come with a passion for social and global causes. They are trusting and positive but shrewd about accurate information, which makes them wise decision makers. They are quick to participate in socially responsible causes, but they also take the initiative to create, market, and execute their own causes.
Global Givers thrive when connected to a meaningful cause, so adopt green practices and align their tasks with a socially responsible purpose. Inspire them by championing social events with a cause, like building a playground or serving meals to the homeless. They also care about their personal health, so make exercise facilities and healthy, socially conscious food choices available.
Traditionalists tend to have children, and they value work-life balance. Backed into a corner, they will defend their family life at the expense of career. They are stable, frugal, and highly educated (including a global perspective), but dislike disruptive change.
Traditionalists thrive when work-life balance is equitable and stable, so manage change responsibly and avoid knee-jerk decisions. Ensure that work is aligned with positive core values and meaningful purpose. Make company outings family-friendly (weekend cookouts, ball-games, etc.) and foster a welcoming workplace for visiting children.
Nostalgics are resourceful, self-sufficient, and stable out-of-the-box thinkers. They tend to be independent, so these might be your consultants and part-time employees. With introvert tendencies, they would rather work from home but aren’t great at monitoring email. Nostalgics love experiences and would rather enjoy the moment than record it. They also like to read, but will opt for a hard-copy instead of an e-book.
Nostalgics are highly-creative, and they thrive when solving difficult problems autonomously. Offer them your most difficult problems, give them trust, and get out of the way. You can inspire Nostalgics through literature and experiences. Provide access to highly creative and intelligent content; and develop your story-telling practices. Create or record experiences, then recall them later.
“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
Trendsetters lead adoption, diving head-first into new ideas and products if they believe their is potential. They also have followers and can generate a lot of momentum. These are likely junior employees, maybe even at their first job. Trendsetters tend to care about appearances more than substance and may adopt new ideas and products without considering the consequences. They love originality, authenticity, and variety; but convenience is important and brand loyalty unlikely.
Trendsetters love to lead new trends and thrive in the spotlight. Consider giving them a company-wide or industry-wide voice, directing them toward competitive ideas and technologies. Regard them as consultants that help you stay on the cutting-edge, but follow-up their recommendations with market research and cost-benefit analyses. Allow trendsetters to work autonomously and allow them to find inspiration through original and socially responsible ideas. Ensure that benefits and “must-do” tasks are convenient.
Skeptics are not easily swayed by others because they like to see research or proof firsthand. They are pragmatic, dismissing most popular beliefs, and are unlikely to entertain abstract ideas. Skeptics can be indecisive and may tend toward despondence.
Skeptics are in their element around facts, so ensure access to authoritative sources of information and research. Allow Skeptics to enjoy digital entertainment in the workplace, but give them more responsibility than they would otherwise request. They may also benefit from soft-skills training, mentorship, and regular socialization with diverse employees.
Maximizing the potential of your Millennials will be challenging, but if you spend time with them, learning to understand their drives, it will help you predict what type of environment they need. It will also help you determine what your best employee looks like. Keep in mind that no Millennial fits into just one category. Look for characteristics that span two or three instead.
These new insights will help you design a work experience and environment that activates inspired employees, improving your employment brand, productivity, and ROI. For a partner in this effort, reach out to Corporate Culture Specialist. We are a firm dedicated to helping organizations realize their full potential through inspired corporate culture. You can contact us here, or find additional insights on our blog page.
Recommended Reading: Motivating Employee Retention: Intrinsic Motivation