Millennials – Entitled? Narcissistic? Or Misunderstood?

Millennials – Entitled? Narcissistic? Or Misunderstood?

Millennials – Entitled? Narcissistic? Or Misunderstood?

Hiring & Motivating Millennials.

 Millennial. The buzz word in marketing, but what does it look like to hire and motivate this unique generation? According to studies, there are currently more Millennials in the workforce than any other generation.

What marks Millennials as so different than other generations? Millennials have grown up in a world where technology has enabled them to have immediate results for a great many things. It’s what they’ve known – the age of the internet. It’s all about convenience, and they often become impatient as a result, but impatience isn’t necessarily ‘entitlement.’ And with social media a great outlet for their self-expression, they are often labeled as ‘narcissistic’ or ‘self-obsessed.’

There are two sides to every coin, so while the Millennial generation, in general, has been called lazy, narcissistic, prone to jump from job to job and entitled, they are also confident, ambitious, and achievement-oriented. They have high expectations of their employers, tend to seek new challenges at work, and aren’t afraid to question authority.  They are connected but not tethered – they have lots of options. And, while the number of Boomers grew due to a high number of births, Millennial growth has largely been a result of immigration. Due to this, Millennials are much more receptive of other cultures, which is an asset in hospitality environments.

With so many unflattering labels about Millennials, what does it really mean to be a Millennial and what does this mean for hiring and motivating them?


Millennials – in general – want different things and behave differently than other generations, so we need to speak to their needs and interests if we want to entice new team members.


Value: How this should show up in the real world:
Authentic and transparent Millennials gravitate toward companies that adopt a relatable, straightforward communication style – aka no jargon! They’ve been exposed to so much advertising throughout their lives that they’re sick of corporate jargon and meaningless buzzwords.

Be authentic with your speech as well as in marketing materials because people and content that feels inauthentic is worse than content that’s dry and dated or people who aren’t genuine. Just use simple, succinct language that anyone can relate to.


Flexibility They expect a more flexible work environment than previous generations, so if you have options on work schedules, make sure your new potential hire knows what’s available and what’s expected.


Thirst for Knowledge & Challenge To hire and retain curious (Millennials) people, highlight the learning opportunities available at your winery. If you offer training programs, educational benefits, or subsidized access to online courses, WISE training (shameless plug!), be sure these are reflected in your employer branding efforts.

During the recruiting process, be sure to tell them that the job will have variety and that every day will be different.

Cause They want to work for a company that supports various causes. Tell them about sponsored events outside the workplace, benefits, charity and volunteer work you support, and any fitness or health-related programs that you provide for your employees.


Collaboration If applicable, let them know that there will be plenty of opportunities for collaboration and team projects.


Opportunity Tell them how important the position is and that they will be making a valuable contribution to the company as well as about opportunities that they will have to move up in the ranks.



It is critical to understand that Millennials behave differently, and need different types of solutions to stay engaged at work.

 Give them a purpose and make them feel valued and this group of individuals can make a huge contribution to the team. Beyond understanding how to perform a task – Millennials want to know why. They are motivated to work harder when they understand the importance of a particular task within the context of the company’s big-picture goals.  Millennials are inspired by people/products/companies they can relate to and believe in and are motivated by meaning; according to Fast Company, that is, meaningful work allows a person to:

  • Share their gifts
  • Make an impact in the lives of others
  • Live their desired quality of life

How this shows up:
Use open-book management so that team members understand the big picture and their contribution to it. Ensure you have a well-articulated Vision that shares the ‘why’ and is communicated often. Give them recognition when they are using their gifts to positively impact the business.

Work/Life Balance. Millennials aren’t as willing as former generations to sacrifice their personal life in order to advance their careers. They like to work hard/play hard and want to be at a company that appreciates this desire for balance.  It’s about having a job that will be more accommodating to their personal values and ambitions.  A story in Time magazine said polls show that Millennials “want flexible work schedules, more ‘me time’ on the job.”

They are comfortable telecommuting and don’t mind working late nights and weekends, while recognizing the importance of taking personal time to recharge, for themselves and for their work. The ability to be flexible with when and where they do their work allows them to make more room for family and personal pursuits, aspects which they hold in high regard. For this reason, another study found that 45% of Millennials will choose a workplace with more flexibility over one with higher pay.
How this shows up: As with recruiting and hiring if you have options on work schedules, make sure your new potential hire knows what’s available and what’s expected.  If you have part-time hours, weekends or evenings, or other options available, this is very attractive to Millennials.

Recognition. Individualism is big for Millennials, along with a desire to be recognized. Unlike previous generations, they’re not holding off for the promotions and raises promised down the road – they want to know if they’re being successful today since most only stay 3 years on average. Millennials crave feedback and guidance. They appreciate being kept in the loop and often need frequent praise and reassurance.

How this shows up: Millennials may benefit greatly from mentors who can help guide and develop their talents. Keep Millennials on track by being upfront about your expectations and establishing both daily and weekly goals. Give credit and recognition as due, but often.

Belonging. As is the case with anyone, millennials seek belonging. They want to fit in and will do whatever it takes to connect with people and causes. Millennials want to know that they will have the opportunity to advance and develop their careers within the company they choose to join… and want meaningful work and a solid learning curve. They value teamwork and seek the input and affirmation of others. Millennials are the true no-person-left-behind generation, loyal and committed. They want to be included and involved.
How this shows up: Similar to Recognition, Millennials want a manager that they can regard as a mentor, but even more so, a friend. They want to feel comfortable asking for feedback and advice and establishing a rapport of frequent communication. They work best in companies where they feel they have a “work family,” with coworkers and superiors looking out for them as individuals, not just trying to retain them as a “resource.” If you can find ways to foster teamwork and mentorship to create this sense of belonging, Millennials will feel more valued, part of the team, and tend to stay longer.

Tech Savviness: One study found that 53% of millennials said they would rather get rid of their sense of smell than their digital devices! Millennials have a firm grasp on how to use these digital tools to do things like build relationships, crowdsource solutions, and research information on demand. They are also the most educated generation and want to keep learning.

How this shows up: Highlight the learning opportunities available at your company. If you offer training programs, educational benefits, or subsidized access to online courses, WISE training (shameless plug!). If there are any social media opportunities for this team member or other ways that they can use their talents and feel valued, leverage that for a win-win.

Yes, Millennials are different from other generations, but with some forethought and understanding, it is possible to hire, engage, and retain this important group.