There is a hot debate going on right now about what corporations should be doing about Millennials.
One of the loudest voices in the current debate is Simon Sinek, author of several books including Start with Why.
According to Sinek, Millennials are messed up. Many others disagree with Sinek’s perspectives about Millennials and how to manage them.
One such Millennial, Richie Norton, is particularly upset by Sinek’s remarks. Norton is a best-selling author, speaker, consultant, and multiple entrepreneur. He’s also written numerous articles (see 1 and 2) defending and praising Millennial.
To quote Norton in a recent article, “The 14 Most Destructive Millennial Myths Debunked by Data,” which as of this writing, is #2 on the Medium.com Top Stories:
“The youth aren’t lazy, they’ve been given technology by previous generations and they know how to leverage it.”
Norton backs up his claims with strong evidence and data.
One of Sinek’s comments is that it isn’t Millennials’ faults that they suck. They grew up in a tough environment and received poor parenting. Thus, Sinek believes it is the corporation’s job to act as a proxy parent to Millennials in helping them properly socialize.
Norton responds to Sinek by in the following way:
7. Myth: Millennials aren’t equipped to handle the world’s challenges and need a corporate parent. Fact: “While there are substantial challenges to meet, no generation has been better equipped to overcome them than Millennials. They are skilled with technology, determined, diverse, and more educated than any previous generation” (The White House 15 Economic Facts About Millennials).
8. Myth: Millennials are lazy. Fact: “CEB, a consulting firm, polls 90,000 American employees each quarter. It finds that the millennials among them are in fact the most competitive: 59% of them, in the latest poll, said competition is “what gets them up in the morning”, compared with 50% of baby-boomers. Some 58% of millennials said they compare their performance with their peers’, as against 48% for other generations” (The Economist).
9. Myth: Millennials won’t do what they’re told at work. Fact: “In a poll of 5,000 workers…found that 41% of millennials agreed that “employees should do what their manager tells them, even when they can’t see the reason for it,” compared with 30% of baby-boomers and 30% of members of generation X (born between the mid-1960s and 1980)” ( The Economist).
12. Myth: Corporations don’t need Millennials, but Millennials need corporations (both for work and parenting) Fact: Corporations need work from Millennials, but Millennials have a choice to work for corporations or themselves. Millennials believe (or know) they can make money online, work anywhere and on their own time. Corporations need to remember that “she who cares less wins.” The people who care less tend to have options. Millennials have options for work, corporations don’t have options for labor…unless they choose artificial intelligence. 99.7% of all businesses in the USA are small businesses (defined as 500 employees or less).
One thing is certain, the Millennial debate is getting intense. To Sinek, Millennials need to be helped and re-parented. To Norton, Sinek’s ideas are a “Millennial Myth” which is destructive and damaging to both Millennials and their parents.
What’s your take?