Who shaped your values?

My values have evolved throughout the years and I could pinpoint a few profound moments and people in my life that shaped this evolution. One was my father, a staunch unionist with an incredibly strong work ethic who took no shit. My father gave me the balls and backbone to get through many of the difficult initiations of working in HR as a young woman––in particular dealing with generations above me. This confidence came from being clear in my ideas and communicating that to my colleagues, and trusting that was enough to get people on my side.

Someone else who had a strong hand in my values later in life is my husband, Tim. A hard-working, hard-playing tradie, that sees the world as his playground and drives himself (and me) forward by taking on a “That’s tomorrow’s problem,” attitude. Tim’s values rubbed off on me when I questioned my place in the corporate world, mid-career. By taking his approach to life, I found a new way to see things that honoured my own ideals and challenged me to value different things. I forged a new path for myself based on these values.

While my values have been tweaked and refined by experiences and people throughout my life, the foundation of my values do come from the era in which I was born into and, furthermore, the political, economical, and social climate to which I came of age. I’ve discussed this before in relation to Millennials and Millennial values.

Collective generational characteristics, work ethic and values do exist. And, beyond those drawn from unique personal experiences, these are the values that often lay at the foundation of a generation’s purpose and drive––most evident in the way they treat work. Generational values––in my case, Millennial values––are an important factor when structuring training, leadership and coaching techniques.

You’d know by now I am a resolute believer in values-based recruitment and training. Understanding your values and your company values comes first, and then understanding your employees’ values comes a very close second. Get them wrong and you’re screwed, basically.

And guess what, when it comes to Millennial values, SO MANY BUSINESSES ARE GETTING THEM WRONG! It astounds me.

Recently I surveyed 1000 Australian Millennials in the workplace to harvest a few truths that would help me structure my own programs around recruitment and HR. And the results were conflicting so incredibly with the popular narrative that I had to share. Not only did I flip my personal attitude toward Millennials (and, you might say, my values!) but also I did a 180 on my business model.

One of the most profound collections of results from my Australian Millennials in the workplaces survey was in some of the Millennial values it revealed. Results that contradicted the “rumoured” Millennial values myself, and so many peers, had been structuring our training and coaching and basic HR strategies around until now. Upon learning this, I knew, to go forward in any successful or productive manner, I had to completely bin some of these Millennial myths and reshape my thinking before anything was going to change.

Millennial Myths:

3 Millennial Values I have proven are actually wrong.

1. Millennials are unstable job-hoppers

You know it, you’ve heard it. The story we’ve been sold are Millennials job hop from employer to employer; that they don’t stay in jobs for more than a year, and that they’re always searching of greener pastures.

Wrong, and unfair.

My current research shows that 1 in 2 Millennials in today’s workforce have been with their current employer for more than 3 years.
And 47% of have stayed with an employer for over 5 years. That does not spell flighty job-hopper to me. In fact, it is less that they are unreliable employees, and more that we are becoming unreliable employers. They actually want stability.

2. Millennials have no idea of the property market and most are still living at home with their parents

Stop. This not even just a bit of an exaggeration, it’s a totally shitty generalisation that has no foundation in truth. The truth is, according to my recent survey, Millennials are more savvy to buying property than you think!

Currently, 48% of Australian working Millennials have their own homes.
And 3 in 10 working Millennials intend to buy in the next 5 years.

Brunch, what? In fact, Millennials are entering the housing market sooner than their predecessors, Gen X, did.

3. Millennials are bad with money

Another Millennial-shaming untruth. They are bloody good with money; better than many of us!

1 in 2 Millennials have zero unsecured debt. The truth is only a very small percentage ––1 in 20, have 30k or more in unsecured debts.
And brunching or not, they’re good savers. Over 7 in 10 have between $2-30k in savings. Eat your words, in fact, smash them and put them on toast.

Have you had your mind blown?

I have a whole chapter on Millennial Myths in my book along with current facts from my unique research that (if I haven’t already) will change your mind about Millennial values. And have you, rightfully rethink your values-based judgements, which might in fact be based on myths.

Whether you can relate to them or not, the fact is Millennials have strong values around finance, work and the future. As leaders we need focus on those––firstly on getting them right–– then on working ways to harness those values to create more engaging workplace environments to nurture our future leaders!