It’s amazing to me how many younger people there are in the workforce these days. I guess that means I’m getting old. According to statistics by the Pew Research Center, millennials now make up the majority of the workforce. In 2015 they surpassed Baby Boomers and Gen Xers in number of workers.
Millennials bring many assets to the workforce including digital smarts – having grown up with tech tools at their disposal. They are also ambitious and innovative. But there are down sides to these traits as well. Millennials’ reliance on their digital tools can be annoying and off-putting to others. Their ambition and restlessness can seem brash to those generations who patiently put their time in to get to where they are in their careers. Millennials can avoid generational clashes by being mindful of a few etiquette tips that seem to particularly apply to their generation.
Be More Formal with Your Technology Tools
Yes, I know your phone is another appendage, but it still has its place. Don’t look at or use your phone when you’re meeting with others. It’s like turning your back to someone when they are talking to you.
Treat emails like a business letter rather than a text message. Include a greeting (“Hello” or “Hi,” not “Hey” or “Yo”) and a closing (“Best regards,” “Best,” or “Sincerely”). Avoid using abbreviations. Spell words out. And, avoid casual language like, “you guys,” “no worries” or “dude.”
When it comes to texting, avoid sending texts to your clients or your boss unless they have specified that it’s okay to do so. Texts are very casual and somewhat invasive, so you should only send them to people you know fairly well and who are comfortable receiving texts. Always ask first if you’re not sure if texting someone would be okay. And, be a little more formal when you write your texts.
It’s a sign of respect when you show up on time. And, when you’re late you could miss out on important information or risk not being included because of your tardiness.
Be Respectful of People with More Authority
Yes, you have fresh, innovative ideas, but many of the older folks you work with have years of experience and knowledge. Be respectful of that.
Share Your Opinion but Be Humble
Rather than assuming you know everything, listen and watch. It takes time to understand a company’s history, nuances and culture. Allow yourself time to get the lay of the land or the gist of the meeting before you jump in with your opinion. And when you do share your opinion, be complimentary of others’ contributions.
Dressing professionally doesn’t necessarily mean formal; but if you work for a company with a business casual dress code avoid wearing jeans, sweats, t-shirts or flip flops. When you are dressed professionally you show you want to be taken seriously.
Millennials, you have much to bring to the workforce and we’re counting on you to make the world a better place. Just remember to mind your manners along the way.