We boomers like to think of ourselves as the “mentors” for the younger generations. We have the experience and the wisdom that age provides. While this may be true to a certain extent there are some things we can learn from millennials – and it would be very wise if we did so.

Boomers Need To Embrace Technology

Technology is not going away and the sooner we embrace it the better off we are. We’ve all seen our children or grandchildren pick up a device and go to town.  My 2 year old grandson will take my cell phone and just start punching the buttons to get to the screen he wants.  Their brains are wired differently then ours are.  I believe most importantly they are not afraid of technology.

I have a theory with loads of evidence behind it – your devices are like animals, they smell fear!  If you are afraid of making a mistake or doing something wrong on the device it knows and there is nothing you can do about it.  It’s important for you to get some help with this!

Before getting on your device look yourself in the eye (mirror) and say “I am the boss!  You will do what I tell you to do because I said so!”  OK maybe not that one since it didn’t work too well on our millennial kids.  But make sure and read a couple of confidence building statements such as?

  • “Learning new technology comes easily for me.”
  • “I love my computer.”
  • “Today I learn and remember what I learned.”

I’m telling you it works. It may sound crazy – but it works. And if all else fails take a class and practice, practice, practice.  Technology is here to say and whether it’s to stay connected with your grandchild or for work, it pays to know how to use it.

Millennials like to collaborate

We boomers grew up in the age of cubicles and closed doors, following the lines of authority and working on our own. Millennials are much different in this regard. They want to work together and they want little barriers to doing that. They want to create and collaborate with everyone no matter the position in the company. They expect open lines of communication and the ability to easily collaborate wherever they may be.

“Millennials are reinventing the workplace,” says Tonya Lain, regional vice president, Adecco Staffing USA. “They are breaking down the walls and opening the lines of communications.” The boomer CEO’s and upper management are starting to embrace this new way of thinking because of the results they are seeing.

Millennials like feedback 

Millennials do not wait for the quarterly performance review, but want instant feedback on how they are doing and how they can improve. Research from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School found 80% of Millennials  would rather get feedback in real time rather than get it from traditional performance reviews. This desire for constant feedback can be an area of concern for boomer but the reality of it is that whether you are giving the feedback or receiving it – both parties tend to stay more engaged with the opportunities and challenges that face them on a daily basis. This frequent feedback holds true both at work and in their personal lives.

Millennials like speed

Because of technology and the ease at which things can be monitored the workplace has a much quicker rhythm. Millennials do things quickly, there are deadlines to be met, and goals to reach. For many baby boomers the speed in which millennials operate is hard to handle, but that’s because it’s different from what we are used to, and not because of age. “Millennials tend to move more quickly and get things done faster and sometime boomers are little slower,” says Nations. This is something we boomers can learn from millennials, how to accomplish more in less time.

Work-Life Balance Pays Big Dividends

We boomers grew up in era where hard work was expected.  The harder you worked the faster you advanced in your company. Leaving work for a child’s baseball game was not an option.  I remember when I first got married – my husband told me about a co-worker that needed to take his wife to the hospital and his boss fired him. Time off on the spur of the moment was not an option. Millennials grew up with us as parents and saw the sacrifice but also saw the cost and are not willing to do the same thing. They expect much more flexible hours with the ability to cut out in the middle of the day from time to time if needs be.

According to a new survey of nearly 10,000 workers in eight countries by Ernst & Young’s Global Generations Research, Millennials were most likely to say they would take a pay cut, forgo a promotion or be willing to move to better manage work-life demands.

Boomers live the Entrepreneurial Spirit 

Millennials are a totally different type of than the baby boomers. They were born with an entrepreneurial spirit and seek after relationships with coworkers regardless of their position or title.  They believe in their ideas and are not afraid to approach others with their ideas, even if that someone is the CEO of the company. We boomers were taught to refrain from sharing our ideas and keep our role within the organization of the company.

A UNC survey also found 92% of surveyed 21 to 24 year-olds said that entrepreneurship education was vital in the new economy – and 30% of respondents had started a business in college.We boomers are working longer than past generations.  We can learn from millennial to seek new opportunities by starting our own business.

 Learn from Every Generation