Known as “digital natives,” millennials are known for being tech-savvy both in their personal and their professional lives. While this may come as a benefit in many situations, some employers worry that this dependence on technology can impair a candidate’s ability to prioritize their work and effectively multi-task without becoming distracted or side-tracked. Is this concern warranted, or does the millennial connection to technology make them better multi-taskers?

The Effect of Technology

Unlike previous generations, millennials grew up with a heavy emphasis on technology, both in school and as a source of entertainment. As a result, they developed a habit of doing several things at once—whether that’s IMing their friends, responding to emails, or browsing the web.

Given the ubiquity of technology in their lives, this comes as no surprise. Many millennials listen to music while they work, or leave a television on in the background. Even more have multiple browsers open and several programs demanding their attention as they work.

However, this practice doesn’t seem to affect their ability to concentrate. In fact, studies show that younger generations are more comfortable with multi-tasking than their older counterparts. They can perform complex tasks with a variety of ambient distractions, including music and nearby conversations, and can bounce back and forth between different activities without feeling distracted or overwhelmed.

As a result, millennials are particularly adept at careers in IT, communications, or marketing roles. They’re able to manage heavy workloads, fast-paced environments, and energetic workplaces that might distract non-tech focused employees.

The Harm of Multi-Tasking

Millennial candidates do need to keep in mind that there is a right time and a wrong time for multi-tasking. For instance, during assignments that require a high level of concentration, accuracy, or attention to detail, it’s best to eliminate other distractions and focus on the task at hand. In other instances, multi-tasking may involve social media or personal conversations with friends or family that can derail your focus and result in poor work performance.

Effective multi-tasking demands a balance between periods of intense concentration and periods of responsiveness to the demands of different tasks. To control your attention span, know when to close out of instant messengers or put your phone on “Do Not Disturb.” You can always take a temporary break from technology if you feel that it is becoming too much of a distraction during your work day.

Multi-tasking is a skill that many millennials possess, and it allows them to dedicate their attention to a variety of tasks at any given moment. However, if you find yourself facing distractions, take the time to step away from technology and focus on the task at hand. If you can identify your biggest distraction, you’ll be a more effective multi-tasker and a more productive employee.

A lot has changed in the past few decades, and for women, this holds particularly true. Women are entering the workplace at an unprecedented rate, and as a result, are quickly becoming the primary income earners in their home.

This is impacting the way decisions are made and the power millennial women have in the workplace and within the home. In fact, a recent survey from U.S. Trust found that 31% of millennial women are the dominant decision-makers in their families, compared to 11% of Gen X women, and 9% of women from the Baby Boomer generation.

But this isn’t the only generational gender shift researchers are seeing. A study from PwC observed dozens of new changes within this growing segment of the workforce.

Presence in the Workforce

In the next decade, one billion women are expected to enter the workplace—nearly double the number that joined from 1980-2008. Add the fact that women are pursuing advanced degrees at higher rates than their male counterparts, and the potential for change within the workforce is tremendous. As companies begin to see higher rates of female employees, they’ll begin to see a demand for employer traits prioritized by female workers, namely:

  • Opportunities for career progression (reported by 53% of respondents)
  • Competitive wages and other financial incentives (52%)
  • Flexible working arrangements available (35%)
  • Good benefits packages including pensions, healthcare, and other benefits (33%)
  • Excellent training and development programs (27%)

As companies begin to respond to the need of this highly educated, highly motivated segment of the workforce, the structure of the workplace will continue to change.

The Millennial Mindset

As they begin their careers, millennial women are more confident and career-focused than previous generations. 49% feel that they are able to achieve a senior role in their current company, and 31% have left employers for not providing more opportunities for upward momentum. In fact, this is the most common reason women reported leaving their company.

This increased ambition and focus on developing their careers has allowed women to gain more earning power within their companies. In fact, PwC found that 66% of female millennials earn equal to or more than their partner.

The Outcome

These generational differences are allowing millennial women to not only shape their households, but shape the workplace as well. They have a greater purchasing power, the ability to make more financial decisions within the home, and more potential for career growth within their companies.

Companies are starting to take notice of the highly educated, driven female millennials that are entering the workforce, and are beginning to respond to their needs as a result. This is changing the way we work as a corporate culture, and many times, creating a more diverse, inclusive workplace.

As Baby Boomers age out of the workforce, millennials are beginning to take their place as a new generation of leaders. This can have unexpected consequences for employers as their legacy workers leave, taking years of experience and knowledge with them. Is your company prepared for this big change? More importantly, are your millennial employees prepared to fill the shoes of senior employees?

Recognize Strengths & Weakness

While these two generations shared a work space, they benefited from a combined cultural intelligence that helped meet the demands of their company. But now that Baby Boomers are heading into retirement, employers must take a close look at the strengths and weaknesses of each of these demographics, and how that dynamic might change without its senior staff.

Millennials are often referred to as “digital natives,” given the prominence of technology in their day to day lives. This fluency in new technology brings a lot to the table, but it may come up lacking when a situation calls for experience over technical know-how. Generation Y employees are fast learners, however, so there are ways around this growing problem.

Plan for Leadership Training

If they haven’t retired already, your older employers are likely beginning to plan for their final years with your company. This window of time can be a valuable opportunity for getting your millennial staff up to speed. There are two ways you can take advantage of Baby Boomer knowledge and experience.

  1. Establish leadership training programs. Your tenured staff have built up a large repertoire of industry knowledge and practical skills that help them accomplish their goals. Give them a platform for sharing their ideas by providing group training, seminars, and other skill-building opportunities for younger generations. This will give your seasoned staff the ability to impart their accumulated knowledge on their peers, while offering newer employees insight into the information they need to build successful careers.
  1. Promote mentorships within the company. One-on-one pairings not only provide opportunities for your employees to get to know one another, but it also gives them more focused feedback on their professional experience. If there’s a particular area that they struggle with, or if they’re interested in gaining a unique skill, they can express these interests to their mentor who can then guide them through the learning process. These relationships can be enriching and rewarding for both parties

The departure of your Baby Boomers doesn’t have to spell disaster for your company. If you recognize the gap between skill and experience and take steps to close that gap, you’ll not only have a healthy company after the coming retirement wave, but your millennial employees will be well-rounded, talented, and ready to take on any challenges that come their way.

For many people, feedback has a negative connotation—namely, that it consists of sitting in an office and listening to your boss telling you everything you’re doing wrong. But for millennials who are just starting out, or only a few years into a career, feedback can be an invaluable tool for accelerating your professional development and getting you into a leadership position.

Here’s how feedback can help you, along with tips on how you can harness feedback to improve your professional standing and advance in your career.

Feedback helps you focus your goals

It’s easy to view feedback as a laundry list of things you’re doing wrong—but don’t fall for this discouraging perception. For the recipient, as well as the person giving the feedback, it’s simply a tool to point out how you can improve your opportunities for advancement.

Feedback is more than mistakes you can avoid (although those are worth noting). When receiving feedback, you should also hear about skills you can develop and qualities you can enhance—the things you’re doing right, that your supervisor would like to see more often. One of the most important values of feedback is the ability to help you stop wasting time, and start focusing on those areas that will get you noticed.

Rather than waiting for feedback to happen to you, the best strategy is to proactively seek feedback. When you ask to meet with your boss or supervisor to review your performance on a regular basis, you’re showing initiative to improve—an important and sought-after leadership quality.

The following tips will help you make the most of your feedback sessions and gain positive value from constructive criticism.

Lay the ground rules

Since you’re the one asking for feedback, you have the opportunity to ask for exactly the kind of feedback you want. Make it clear that you’re asking for constructive feedback in order to improve your performance, and state your goals. Whether you’re looking for a raise, a promotion, or general advice on getting ahead, providing specific goals can help your supervisor tailor the feedback accordingly.

Listen and take notes

Many people listen to feedback with an ear for the defensive—spending the whole time preparing a rebuttal to explain why the criticism is wrong. This type of defensive listening makes feedback worthless, because you’re not really hearing what is said. Instead, train yourself to contain those knee-jerk reactions and listen proactively to the advice being given. Identify opportunities for improvement, rather than the chance to defend your performance.

You should also take notes during feedback sessions. This not only helps you remember important advice, but also allows you to minimize the feeling of being judged by not looking directly at the person giving feedback all the time. Then you can review your notes later with an objective eye, while you’re not under the direct pressure of receiving feedback, and decide which parts are valid and useful.

Ask for clarification

If you find yourself getting defensive about certain feedback, resist the temptation to pounce. Instead, ask for specifics about the issue—you may be interpreting the feedback in the wrong way. This also turns your feedback session into a meaningful dialogue, instead of a one-way lecture.

And if you still feel the person offering feedback is wrong after the points are clarified, explain your own perspective on why you handled the issue the way you did—and ask for suggestions about how you could have done it differently.

End on a positive note

Toward the end of the feedback session, be sure to ask directly how you can improve your performance and achieve your career goals. This places the focus on future actions you can take, instead of mistakes you may have made in the past—which is beneficial for both you and your boss.

Finally, thank your boss or supervisor for taking the time to give you feedback. Chances are, they don’t enjoy giving performance reviews any more than you enjoy receiving them—so they’ll appreciate knowing that you’ll benefit from the information, and that you plan to implement their advice in your performance.

If you could only follow four rules for the rest of your life, these would be it! To live a happy life, follow these simple rules. Continue to remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be so complicated and follow these 4 agreements.

Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, is a writer, teacher, and shaman. In his book he describes the Four Agreements as conscious decisions we make each day to become better versions of ourselves. They are to “Be Impeccable With Your Word”, “Don’t Take Anything Personally”, “Don’t Make Assumptions”, and “Always Do Your Best”. The agreements focus on the Toltec teachings that emphasize achieving happiness, peace, and love through attained wisdom.

Some great simple mantras to de-clutter your life and bring you to the right path.

Life is all about the decisions you make. This article outlines some great way to make smarter choices. 6 Science-Backed Ways To Make Better Decisions

The cure or the story?

The plumber, the roofer and the electrician sell us a cure. They come to our house, fix the problem, and leave.

The consultant, the doctor (often) and the politician sell us the narrative. They don’t always change things, but they give us a story, a way to think about what’s happening. Often, that story helps us fix our problems on our own.

The best parents, of course, are in the story business. Teachers and bosses, too.

Posted by Seth Godin on March 31, 201




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