We’re told that Millennials in the workplace bring a values-oriented focus to their jobs, looking to see how their contributions play against the wider goals of the organization and requiring that their colleagues and their managers participate accordingly.
They ask why they are doing something and they want to know what they will get from doing it. This article in Inc. likens Millennial participation in the workplace to video games and that makes sense given how even Generation X (my generation) grew up in a video-game heavy environment.
In games, the hero is given a mission and that mission is explained against the backdrop of the bigger picture (“Frodo, take the One Ring to Mount Doom and you can save Middle Earth.”). Along the way, the player gets rewards, grows in strength, and gains more knowledge. By the end of the game, the hero has hit his/her max level and the game is over. Until the next one.
In today’s workforce of shorter tenures and roles based on project timelines, this actually makes sense but not just for Millennials. All of us will be playing multiple “games” of varying length with consequently shorter timelines for rewards and feedback.
We are all Millennials in that regard and employers will do well to play that game too. This way we can all beat Sauron and save Middle Earth!