5 lessons from millennials in the workforce

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Watching millennials enter the workforce has been exciting and frustrating. Gone are the days of employer loyalty and "paying your dues." In comes a generation that challenges the way we do things with how we could do things. You have heard the negative: job-hopping, a sense of entitlement, expectations for ping pong tables and food trucks — and I’ve had my share of millennial experiences that definitely fit the stereotypes.

But while I was skeptical of the tech-savvy, short-attention-spanned youth, they’re changing the workplace, and dare I say, it’s for the better. Millennials are expected to comprise nearly 50% of the workforce by 2020 (that’s less than five years away) and there is a lot to look forward to.

Here are five great things I’ve learned from working with Millennials:

1) Quality vs. quantity: It’s not about how much or how hard employees work. Time and effort don’t necessarily equal merit. The question millennials are asking themselves is, “How much value am I adding to the project/the team/the company?”

2) Work/life blending: Work isn’t something confined to an office anymore, and life no longer occurs outside the parameters of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Millennials live in a seamless world where the personal and the professional are no longer distinct, allowing me to be mom, wife and company president anytime and anywhere.

3) Challenge the status quo: i.e., they’re challenging me! Millennials have been brought up asking “Why?” and “Why not?” By confronting us with new ways of looking at processes, products and service access, millennials are shaking up business and proposing new ideas and solutions.

4) Have fun at work: Millennials demand a team and workplace that they like. Encouraging friendships and fun (in moderation of course) leads to happy, engaged employees — and engaged employees deliver results.

5) Embrace change: ACI has seen a 150% increase in digital access (email, text, mobile app, website) to benefit services over the past year. As technology early-adopters, Millennials are shifting the way we interact with the people we serve, and we must not only keep up but also innovate to stay relevant.

Also see: "5 ways female executives can avoid bias, advocate for workplace gener equality."

Krehbiel is president of ACI Specialty Benefits.

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