Understanding Millennials

Figuring out what makes millennials tick is key to unlocking their potential as consumers and workers.

Millennials seem to be all the rage today. The generation that hit young adulthood around the year 2000 are the holy grail for marketing firms and will always make up the bigger chunk of any target audience. They grew up well with technology and embraced its speedy evolution. So much so that many of them probably prefer high-speed Internet to high-quality air.

Many trends have risen over the past few years thanks to the endorsement of millennials. The successful tech businesses that have garnered a large and global user base over this time can help shed a light on what kind of creatures we are dealing with.

For starters, the notion of “public” has become extremely simple and non-threatening. Millennials will go to great ends to prove this with their videos, photos, comments, and tweets. You can know more about them than you can about any other generation. To them, things like relationship status, satisfaction with work, and political views are in a natural place only when made public. Not only do they like sharing, they crave it. And being part of the digital social fabric is fundamental to their daily being.

Another major shift that millennials adopted was their shrinking affinity to assets, or fixed assets, to be more precise. At their current age, they are less likely to buy property than older generations; the rise of Craigslist is evidence of how they rent, share, and keep themselves free from heavy loans or assets that may hamper their global mobility. The same is evident in how cab hailing and ride sharing services have found a key market in millennials looking for on-demand services rather than owning, paying for, and servicing a piece of metal on four wheels.

Another departure from previous generations is the weakening bond millennials have with their fellow humans. The signs of this are plain to see: the stellar growth of e-commerce, new delivery mechanisms like drones and automated parcel machines, and driverless cars. These are all examples of millennials gravitating increasingly towards machines. And if they want to hold a relationship, it better be through the guidance and intermediacy of Tinder or Whatsapp. Confrontation is no longer as necessary. Short, quick texts can do the job (most of the time).

Then there is the philosophy with which our millennials approach work and careers. In what could be the most significant differentiator from previous generations, this lot is programmed differently. They look for less structure and more fulfillment. Many would agree that millennials now look past the pay check to evaluate the substance, purpose, and overall experience offered by the company and the job. The rising number of startups driven by twenty-something aspirers is enough reason to review the way companies design roles, develop leadership, and challenge young talent. Unlike their parents, millennials will challenge everything from the need to work in an office to the necessity of having a boss. They’re not an easy segment and they’re different, but cracking their code is key to designing their products and making the most out of them in organizations.