Millennials: The Socialization Experience

11 Aug Millennials: The Socialization Experience

Most Millennials despise the notion of being considered a “digital native”, no matter how accurately descriptive the term is. Yes, they may navigate the web better than any other generation and yes, they happen to be more engaged socially but they’re not deserving of the negatively charged socialization stereotypes slapped upon them. Even when it comes to buying property, the idea of millennials being lazy and not having enough money is one that is mentioned quite a bit. Check out a site like https://www.claytonandclayton.com/blog/millennial-home-buying-myths.html for more information about the myths and facts surrounding this generation. Growing up and entering the world with infinite access to information, entertainment, and the stories of others, the ability to connect to virtually anything or anyone isn’t a revolutionary concept. Socialization through media and the Internet has been a molding experience, allowing them to learn and even create new experiences for themselves.

Socialization has become a core part of the Millennial experience, but they didn’t necessarily decide that for themselves. The world introduced connectivity through technology, thus a window was forged showcasing the experiences of others worldwide. Through this, constant competition was created. Technology aided their upbringing and the push to constantly better the world was emphasized in commercials, education, and personal experience. Innovation was taught as not only a desire, but a source of power. Finally, the new wave of socialization was enabled through happiness. Watching the struggles and global issues plaguing generations before them, Millennials realize that working with others they like is not only enjoyable, but genuinely productive when everyone can be happy.

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COMPETITION

It is safe to assume that Millennials have been bred as a generation more competitive than ever. Entering adulthood in the midst of a devastating recession, they’ve faced a palpable contest for positions in the working world. But to them, the rivalry is only natural. They have had to develop their own custom brand through continuous personal sagas, in constant relay to the world through status updates and pictures. Whether it is a snapshot of the Salmon Roll at the hottest Sushi Fusion restaurant, video footage of hang gliding outside of Rio, or quickly-addressed complaints of a company’s service on Twitter- Millennials document and widely publish everything. Critics or older generations may not be convinced, but when it comes to creating a personal brand- it’s an advantageous strategy.

This effort to constantly be perfecting a personal brand may strike some as self-absorbed or conceited but it’s a new type of competition that is even starting to infiltrate the workplace. While Twitter, Facebook, and major social media platforms were conceived, grew bigger, and emerged into adulthood, so did Millennials. Even before those channels were born, older Millennials grew up parallel to the boom of Internet popularity or even the evolution of things like reality TV. To Millennials, competition exists much farther than games on ESPN. Through the emergence of social media, competition now exists in the gamification of status, photo, and video updates. Users compete for the most amount of likes, favorites, or re-shares.

But the ‘likes’ aren’t necessarily bad. It’s the Millennial generation that has also found ways to advertise and gain followings through social media by branding their nonprofits or companies through free social media pages, increasing the coverage through a multitude of likes. Through the success of gamified socialization, new formats for work and workplace social networking have come to be a positive norm. Competition is good thing- employees’ lives are projected and transparent to the world. They are aware of their presence, and that of their coworker’s.

INNOVATION

Discussion and coverage on Millennial engagement may be a recent trend, but the topic of employee engagement isn’t considered anything new. Better workflow and productivity is encouraged through happy employees- and improved socialization. Increased collaboration and communication are good things for a company- they spark constant inspiration and innovation. They happen through socialization.

Millennials accompanied many breakthroughs in ideas, processes, technology, and life advances throughout their upbringing. Encouraged to do group work since elementary school, group collaboration is now something commonplace. Alicia Mendez, anchor of Fusion and a Millennial herself, sat on a panel focused on Millennials hosted by Pew Research Center[1]. When the topic of socialization surfaced- she classified Millennials as, “the most collaborative people I’ve ever met- you can’t get them to work alone on a project”. More and more companies are developing offices with collaborative desk arrangements or creatively-adorned spaces, but also implementing new communication formats, such as enterprise social networks, which allow their employees to collaborate and in turn, innovate.

In a survey by IdeaPaint[2], 38% of corporate Millennial employees responded that they believe their company’s innovation is suppressed by a lack of dated collaboration processes. It may seem obvious, but the survey also stated that Technology companies lead in employee innovation satisfaction. 63% of corporate Millennial employees involved in the Technology industry responded that they had a part in the collaboration and innovation of their company’s latest product.

WORKPLACE HAPPINESS

To Millennials, some relationships are worth an extended effort. In a LinkedIn survey, 51% of surveyed Millennials report that they will stay in touch with former colleagues after leaving a job. Not only do they value relationships, they will make an effort to keep them. When viewing all aspects of their life as social experiences, why should work be an exception?

In a recorded panel discussion hosted by the Pew Research Center, Paul Taylor states that Millennials are in fact more devoted to family than ever, but marriage is seen as a ‘capstone’ rather than a beginning experience. Do a tighter set of bonds between coworkers tide some individuals over? Recent years have seen the emergence of terms such as “work family” and its even been proven that Millennials are more social with their coworkers than ever. In a recent LinkedIn study[3] 57% friendships in the office make them feel happier, 50% more motivated, and 39% more productive. This means worthwhile, quality engagement– and it makes sense right? Employees are happier and then put more effort into their work when they work with friends. By letting employees be social with their coworkers, new ideas sprout and grow. Innovation happens and so does company advancement.

Happiness can also exist in inclusiveness. Its human nature to feel happier when included, this is a lesson learned at a pre-elementary age. IdeaPaint states[4] that 74% of respondents prefer to collaborate in small groups to generate big ideas. This satisfies the age group’s sense of community but also helps ensure that everyone’s ideas are heard within a meeting, creating the trust of included employees but also the satisfaction of feeling belonged.

MOVING FORWARD

Socialization is not a negative thing. Many of the greatest ideas, advancements, and breakthroughs are the result of fierce competition, innovative idea sharing, and the supplementary happiness to a productive workplace. Successful companies of the future will appreciate competition through social media. They will revel at the results from heavily collaborated group work. Executives will become infected with happiness themselves after catching it from their employees.

For more on Millennials in the workplace join us at PIVOT in October.

 

 

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[1] http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/the-next-america-event-video/

[2] http://d1jbvhpem1c36a.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/IdeaPaint-2013-Millennial-Survey.pdf

[3] http://blog.linkedin.com/2014/07/08/work-bffs/

[4] http://d1jbvhpem1c36a.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/IdeaPaint-2013-Millennial-Survey.pdf

Savannah Mitchell

Passionate about writing and journalism, Savannah's previous pieces have focused on the millennial experience in higher education and the workforce. She enjoys learning about social media and the impact of digital trends on attracting and retaining millennial talent. When not crafting articles, she enjoys trying new restaurants, traveling, and competing in triathlons.

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