The “Me Me Me Generation” Fallacy

young workersIn early May, Time magazine had a cover feature dedicated to Generation Y titled “Millennials: The ME ME ME Generation.” The piece gave a broad description of the generation as being narcissistic, lazy, coddled, and a bit delusional with respect to the realities of adult life. With the U.S. alone having more than 70 million Millennials (individuals born between 1984 and 1995), the issue has sparked much debate, discussion and extended media coverage regarding whether this generation has the traits, skills, and resilience required to survive – and ideally thrive – in the working world.

According to a recent article on, the Millennial Generation is very focused on identifying work environments that offer strong growth potential and a chance to demonstrate accountability. The article goes on to estimate that more than half of Millennials are looking for a career opportunity that gives them the ability to experience rapid growth within a company. To assist in their growth and add more value to the company, Millennials are motivated by gaining access to training and development from their employers, versus more traditional incentives like compensation and paid time off.

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Along with being thirsty for growth opportunities and training, the generation is the most tech-savvy, adaptable, and mobile workforce generation to date. Millennials quickly adapt to various media platforms (desktop, laptop, smartphone, and tablet) and applications (social media, cloud-based file sharing, online transactional tools). Their fluency with technology has also enhanced their multi-tasking abilities. A report published by Kenan-Flagler Business School estimated that Millennials switch their attention between media platforms 27 times per hour on average! Given that this generation is on some form of technology practically 24/7, Millennial employees have a constant pulse on their work demands even outside of regular working hours.

In addition to having strong technology multi-tasking skills, Millennials are completely immersed in social media. If a company is looking to increase its brand awareness within social media, Millennial hires can certainly provide a leg up. This generation is constantly communicating via social media (and probably knows the next big application way before others within an organization). This group is busy informing various social contacts about what they like, where they are, what activities they are doing, and how they are feeling. And, because work makes up a big portion of their time, Millenials are more likely to mention office happenings within their social media networks. Every positive reference to the company is like a free advertisement, and to a newer and broader audience.

Keep in mind, not all things Millennials say will be glowing. To reduce the likelihood of negative feedback, employers should communicate effectively with Millennials from the start. This tech-savvy generation is accustomed to the climate of transparency created by social media outlets and content sharing- so they truly value when an employer communicates openly about a company’s culture, strategic vision, and values. Delivering authentic and meaningful communications during all stages of the sourcing, recruitment, and onboarding processes can ultimately help your company establish a stronger employment brand within social media.

Due in large part to the Millennial generation’s increasing reliance on technology, HR professionals are finding the need to change the way they source these hires. In today’s job marketplace, your company’s outreach needs to have three key attributes: It needs to be social, mobile, and easy to use. Millennial applicants are looking for their next job on social media via their smartphones and tablets. Once they find the job they want, they want a simple and social application process to share their social media profile data from sources like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. According to an internal iCIMS report, between the latter half of 2012 and the first half of 2013 there was a 47 percent increase of candidates applying for jobs within the iCIMS Talent Platform using their social media profile data to expedite the online job application process.

It’s all about making it simple and social if you want to attract, engage within, and ultimately hire the most ambitious, accountable, and adaptable Millennials. Time magazine might have a few Millennials pegged correctly, but many are smart, tech-savvy, and ready for a new challenge. You just have to know how to reach them.

MORE: Millennial and Mature Workers’ Attitudes Align

Susan Vitale

Susan Vitale
Susan is CMO at iCIMS.

Susan Vitale

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