Thursday, July 10, 2014

Millennials and Loyalty

It’s almost inevitable that older people look down on younger people. After all, the older you get the less you remember about your own misspent youth. And the less you want to remember it. Anyone who would remind you of it will not make the list of your favorite people.

Anyway, qualms aside, researchers have recently discovered that millennials do not possess the best moral character. I am not talking about intimate behavior. I am referring to the recently-reported fact that they, more than older generations, happily use their friends to get ahead in the world. They do not see friendship as worthwhile in itself. They like other people if they can use them. They would, in other words, happily develop a friendship if it would help them at work. They would easily sacrifice a friend for a promotion.

Bloomberg reports:

Navigating a career is always tough, and millennials—now the single largest age group in the U.S.—face an especially crowded and competitive environment. But admit defeat they will not. A new survey of 11,500 people worldwide conducted by LinkedIn (LNKD) shows millennials in particular aren’t letting anyone stand in the way of their ascent, especially not their work buddies.

Anyone who has befriended one of these young workers—ages 18 to 24 in the study—should beware: Sixty-eight percent of millennials said they would sacrifice a friendship with a colleague if it meant getting a promotion. Baby boomers ages 55 to 65, on the other hand, claim to be more virtuous: Sixty-two percent said they would never even consider it.

First, job-hopping millennials proved disloyal to employers, and now apparently they’re also disloyal to each other. LinkedIn’s survey further suggests many millennials see friendships at work as purely functional: One-third said they “think socializing with colleagues helps them move up the career ladder,” compared with only 5 percent of boomers. Workplace friendships not only made millennials happy—half of those surveyed said such relationships motivate them, and 30 percent said these friendships make them productive.

Apparently, the concept of loyalty has not entered their moral lexicon.

Note well that older people, perhaps chastened by experience, describe themselves as more virtuous and less ruthless.

Unfortunately, getting the promotion and functioning effectively on the job are not the same thing. Millennials would do well to read yesterday’s post about “the dark side of personality.

True enough, character flaws might help you to get ahead, but in the long run your bad character will undermine your ability to do a job.


David Foster said...

"ixty-eight percent of millennials said they would sacrifice a friendship with a colleague if it meant getting a promotion."

I'm not sure what this actually means. Does it mean:

a) They would give up a friendship with a colleague if the said colleague were a jealous type who would drop them if they got promoted over colleague's head?


b) Does it mean they would stab colleague in back to get promotion?

These are two totally different things.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I fear that it's the latter.

Sam L. said...

Then, there's this take:

Anonymous said...

And who is it to blame for their lack of loyalty? Certainly they are entering the most LOYAL workforce ever, aren’t they?

No unpaid internships, no 100% turnover business models, only companies who care about their staff and create a bond of trust between them. Yes, I agree. This is all the millennia’s fault for not following the work patterns of previous generations. After all their current work experience is just like the 1950’s, isn’t it?

As the average millennial changes jobs (through no fault of their own) every 1.5 years, they don’t develop attachments to their fellow colleagues. Not a particularly difficult concept to understand I would think.

I see in your photo you have grey hair sir. I expect that you thank god daily for being born at a time when what companies do now to their millennial employees in the name of profits would have been considered criminal.