I’m in a leadership conference when concerns about millennials, also called the Y generation, was discussed. According to a speaker, a number of senior executives and CEOs in America were reluctant to pass the leadership torch to these group because of the “alleged” delusional expectations and self-serving work ethics and behaviour.
Before I throw my two cents, I did some readings to vet if the behavioural indicators being attributed are applicable to Filipino and ASEAN millennials. Understanding these attributes is important given the ASEAN economic integration on 2015 because this affects talent management and engagement.
The Y generation is said to be
- Over confident
They were raised in an environment w/ “too much” positive affirmation, and the y generation got the message too well. They knock on doors of HRs and employers w/ an overflowing confidence. But in most cases, the confidence is not supported by required skills for the job.
My take: I worked directly w/ millennials fresh from college. They are indeed a confident breed, they believe they can take a job beyond the entry-level position even though they lack the requisite experience. I cannot say, however, that it is exclusive to their generation, I’m an X gen-er but I’m like that too when I was on their age, ha ha.
- Accustomed to “instant
The millennials are said to be impatient because they grew-up receiving things from their parents w/o a sweat. Because of this, according to studies, millennials developed a sense of entitlement.
My take: Not too long ago, my fresh grad staff, who just received her regularization papers, asked me “when” she will be considered for the next level position. I said 2 years, she find it too long. She eventually left the company after 1 year of employment. Though I believe there is a grain of truth on this observation, specially to well off kids, social media also played a bigger role why millennials want to prove they can succeed overnight. The Y generation understood and at some extent “overuse” personal branding by unconsciously out-bragging each other w/ their accomplishment
In addition, they have successful millennials as example, like Facebooks’ Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, who succeeded by not going thru the traditional route. If these millennials can do it, they thought, why can’t they?
- Prefer schooling over work
Millennials take the MBA route, to get to the dream position they wanted instead of rolling-out their sleeves to work.
My take: While I have observed the same behavior from the millennials around me, but another reason for this is the lack of job opportunity locally and the desire to work and eventually settle abroad.
Because millennials are self focused, they enter the workforce asserting their individuality. Thus, they pose a problem in team chemistry and conformance to certain office norms.
My take: I don’t think Filipino millennials are “too” individual centered, in fact, they flock amongst themselves and can have a unified agenda. If a boss is not careful, the whole bunch can turn against him/her.
However, I do encounter non conformance issues w/ Filipino millennials on the following:– company uniform and grooming – work schedule – leadership structures and protocols
- Lacks loyalty
The millennials are believed to be unattached to a lot of things. When new gadget comes along, they sell the old and get a new one. The same goes w/ employment, if another employer offers something better, adios amigo!
My take: I agree, it’s no biggie for them to change work.
- Loudest on Social Media, Poor on Face to Face Communication
The millennials are said to be at home w/ social media. They also speak their mind about their experiences, be it good or bad. The result to this is poor face to face communication skills.
My take: At some extent, I agree. The millennials strength can also be their downfall. Some are bolder in expressing their thoughts on social media but they chicken-out on face to face communication
Are Millennials A Throw Away Generation?
Millennials, Filipino or not, in my opinion, should not be labelled as throw away generation. If true that millennials are no good, then it speaks of the lousy parenting of the previous generation. The millennials are different but we are like them in many ways when we are at their age. What they have that we don’t at our time, is social media. A tool that equipped them to be a multi-tasker. It also became a source of pressure to show-off and encouraged the “selfie” attitude.
Are Filipino and ASEAN Millennials Different?
Because of cable TV and the internet, ASEAN millennials are similarly exposed to the determinants of its American counterparts, thus, all millennials have similarities. But the Philippines (and all ASEAN countries, I would like to believe) have its own cultural uniqueness that made them a little different. For the Philippines, these are:
- The liberal brand of Philippine democracy
- OFW parenting
- Extended family.
- High cost of education (to Filipinos living in the Philippines)
- Lack of work opportunities.
- Corruption and inequitable distribution of wealth
- Economic see-saw
Because of this, a study find Filipino millennials are open to seeking global opportunity, demands a flexible work schedules and they value work-life balance. This was supported by the findings of DOLE who finds fresh graduates picky. Likewise, some Filipino millennials have ventured into the work at home scheme or freelance work like oDesk and professional blogging.
The good side: millennials avoid the mistake of their parents that is too much work (in Philippine context, work abroad) and limited time for family.
The bad side: millennials would rather be jobless than get a job that they don’t want. This is specially true for well-off family.
The generation y are empowered at an early age and they are bolder. And this is good because studies find Filipino millennials are entrepreneurial. What the Philippines needs is an entrepreneurial revolution, in this way, we’ll stop exporting labor.
Now this is the awesome part and uniquely Filipino. Because of our closely knitted family, Filipino millennials are the happiest in Asia . Though facing the prospect of limited opportunities, millennials find family as source of happiness.
The millennials’ worse enemy are themselves, not the oldies.
Millennials have to overcome their lack of patience and learn the art of waiting. There are things in life (and work) that can only be appreciated and acquired thru time. Experience in leadership and management is one. Likewise, they need to overcome the know it all attitude typical to any young person, and learn to listen. Furthermore, if the y generation is not careful w/ their online behaviour, it will be their downfall.
What is the role of the older generation?
Like every upcoming leader, the millennials need a mentor and/or coach. But the oldies should also learn to accept and adopt to the value adding innovation and new way of doing things that millennials bring. We should also learn to shut our mouth and listen. We, that “has been there and done that”, can effectively guide the millennials to find their purpose and place in this life. “If” the nurturing approach of parenting used for millennials made them less responsible, mentors should help create an environment that will fill this void. Biz venture or getting an MT like intervention may do.
What the millennials can do
- Millennials should “listen” also from the learnings of the x and y generation.
- Millennials should put their loyalty towards their purpose, not on another person, or organization.
- Develop face to face communication skills and get used to the “in your face and no holds bar discussion” of issues. Serious talk cannot be done on Twitter or Facebook.
- Use social computing not only for self-expression, but for social good.
Got a thought? Speak up and spark a conversation.