It is time to finally praise our newest members of the workforce. I am so tired of hearing about how millennials are lazy, have been coddled by their parents and, in effect, lack the initiative and self-awareness to be successful in the workplace. First off, these are extremely blanketed statements to make about a generation of roughly 75 million people, recently surpassing the Baby Boomers as the United States largest generation. If these criticisms are really true, there are a lot of lazy, unmotivated North Americans.
My firsthand experience is contrary to the conventional wisdom that millennials are entitled, unmotivated and outright difficult to work with in the professional world. Here in New York City, where the job market tends to be ruthless and demanding, I have found this younger generation to be adaptable, optimistic and above all hard-working.
The vast majority of my firm is made up of millennials. In an industry dominated by male Baby Boomers, we stand in stark contrast, especially when you consider the majority of our team of young financial advisors are women. Below are some of the key qualities our millennial women advisors specifically have brought to the table and the impact we have seen (please note our male advisors are great too!):
- Organization: I found that giving millennials space (and not micromanaging their efforts) gives them the freedom to create systems and structures to keep on top of their work effectively in the daily chaos of our profession. For example, we don't consciously measure vacation days or time spent in and out of the office, giving our team members the freedom to make those decisions for themselves. I suggest you give this generation the discretion to manage their own time, and you will be impressed with their ability to take initiative and work independently.
- Discipline: In my almost two decades as a financial planner, I've found that maintaining investment discipline and self-control are critical skill sets to have when dealing with the volatile nature of markets, human beings and their money. For example, last February when the price of oil was cut in half, markets sold off heavily and investors panicked. Having the calm and rationale to not only keep clients invested -- but advise them to add money to their portfolios at lower prices in the face of their irrationality -- takes a tremendous amount of fortitude. Our millennial financial advisors possess this strength. Remember, all millennials are not created equal. Our hiring process focuses on a candidate's level of emotional maturity and ability to communicate. This can help you add the right twenty-somethings to your team.
- Collaboration: Unlike many companies, where internal strife and competition are not only prevalent, but encouraged, our millennial advisors tend to be more apt to work together and participate collectively in making decisions. In fact, most of our major firm decisions are made in-forum. Everyone gives their input to help shape the direction of the company. By doing this, there is a real sense that the business' success equates to everyone's individual success. The interdependence among our team has allowed us to move and adapt much quicker than a traditional financial services firm. Make your millennial employees part of your company's decision-making process and you will be pleasantly surprised by the ideas and solutions they come up with you to help you grow your business.
We were recently named one of America's fastest-growing private companies, which only further validates the positive impact millennials have had on our business. So get on the bus and embrace our new generation of workers and the unique skill set they bring to the table.
Ryan Payne is the president of Payne Capital Management (PCM).