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3 Major Challenges Millennials Face In The Workplace (That Employers Don’t Seem To Understand)

The other side of the story.

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BY Nicolas Cole - 15 May 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The Millennial discussion is always so one-sided. It's about how Millennials are difficult to manage, hard to keep long-term as employees, impatient and shortsighted.

But what about the other side? What about the things Millennials have to tolerate in the workplace that cause them to be frustrated, impatient, and in desperate search of a better job?

I'll tell you.

1. Using mind-numbingly outdated software and internal processes

As a Millennial, technology is a second language. In fact, I have a harder time figuring out which aisle in the grocery store has what I'm looking for than I do figuring out how to use a new app on my phone.

So keep in mind that when you tell a Millennial employee to be "more productive," and yet your internal software is ten plus years old and lags out every fifteen minutes, you are fighting an uphill battle. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to stay patient through a 15 second YouTube pre-roll ad, let alone tolerate a piece of software that doesn't work correctly--especially when it's required in order to do your job?

Not enough workplaces acknowledge the fact that much of the impatience they sense in their young employees stems from the fact that they are asking a digitally fluent generation to, metaphorically speaking, do their work by hand.

It's slow. It's agonizing. And it's infuriating.

2. Being managed by someone entirely incapable

Imagine being a straight A student all throughout high school and college. Imagine getting your masters degree. Imagine being the president of your class. And then imagine entering your first job and, three weeks in, realizing that the person you are going to have to answer to is thirty years older than you, unhappily divorced, has seven cats, a Diet Coke addiction, and absolutely no foresight into how to effectively plan and execute a project, leaving you to pick up the slack--and then get blamed when things go wrong.

Unfortunately, this is how a lot of Millennials feel. Even if you weren't a straight A student or the president of your class, you find yourself working for someone (or being managed by someone) who, even in your college communications class, wouldn't have passed. And the only reason they are in the position they are is because they haven't left. They've simply been at the company for a long, long time.

Calling a Millennial impatient without acknowledging that maybe sometimes that impatience is warranted is proof you are only interested in seeing the dynamic from one perspective.

3. Working for a company that's all talk and no walk

Do you know what blows my mind? How many companies proclaim themselves to be "industry leaders" with websites that look like they haven't been updated since 1999. Or how many digital agencies say they are "forward thinking" and yet don't have a mobile responsive website. Or how many companies say, "We are results-driven," and then when you start reading their pitch deck you realize they don't even know what results they're driving toward. The only thing they can assure you of is that they will be driving.

Unfortunately, when you're looking for a job, these things don't become apparent until you really step into the environment. What originally appeared to be an exciting position at a forward-thinking company with a positive culture, is actually nothing more than a handful of disorganized traffic conductors, none of whom are very interested in actually digging in and doing the work, but sure love to point out how little you, new employee and Millennial, are bringing to the table.

All this talk about how incompetent and impatient Millennials are is a poor excuse for lack of self-reflection. If you want new employees to succeed, you need to provide an environment that allows for that. And if you aren't getting the results you were hoping for, maybe, just maybe, your company and its work environment isn't what you think it is.