Managing Millennials: Do the Myths Have Validity (and a Millennial Response)

by Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP

The conventional wisdom says that there are distinct challenges in managing Millennials (or Generation Y), defined as individuals between the ages of 18 and 32.  The most common complaints from managers attribute a misplaced sense of entitlement, lack of loyalty, and inadequate communication skills to Millennials.  The challenge for managers in the current workforce is to determine whether those presumptions are true, and whether a different management style is necessary when leading a workforce that is now primarily comprised of three distinct generations of employees:  (1) Millennials; (2) Generation X employees (33 to 48 years old); and (3) Baby Boomers (49 to 67 years old).

The consulting arm of Ernst and Young conducted an online generations study in June 2013 and collected data from over 1,200 respondents evenly spread across the three generational groups.  98% of the respondents worked full-time; 95% had some higher education; and 57% reported household income greater than $75,000 a year.

The respondents were asked about the positive and negative characteristics of each generation.

Some of the results released in September 2013 were not surprising.  78% of the respondents found the Millennials to be the most “tech savvy” and 70% of the respondents found them to be the best at using social media.  They were also found to be more collaborative, adaptable, and entrepreneurial than Boomers.

The Ernst and Young study appeared at first glance to confirm some of the anecdotal presumptions in the popular press and Internet blogs about Millennials.  They scored the highest in the negative characteristics of being difficult to work with (36%), feeling entitled (68%), and (not surprisingly) lacking relevant experience (59%).

Of the managers surveyed as part of the respondent pool, 75% agreed that managing a multi-generational workforce is challenging, primarily because of different expectations.  The study looked at what workplace conditions and perks were most valued for building loyalty to the organization.  For Millennials, cash compensation is more meaningful than benefits.  Flexibility is the most important workplace perk and it is valued more significantly by Millennials than the other two generations.  Further, the prospect of promotions is not as important for Millennials in comparison to Generation X employees.

The Ernst and Young study provides information that may help a management team embrace the challenge of managing differences in the workplace.  The days are long gone where the workplace is a homogeneous array of one race and one gender.  Just as it is inappropriate to ask any single individual to speak for a gender, a race, a sexual orientation, or any protected characteristic under equal employment laws, it is misguided to expect a single Millennial speak for a generation.  However, we thought it would be interesting to have a Millennial address both some of the findings of the Ernst and Young survey and presumptions held by conventional wisdom.

  1. Millennials have a sense of entitlement that compromises their interest in working hard for an enterprise. 

The Ernst and Young study validated the belief that the respondents believed Millennials appeared more entitled than the other two generations.  However, the study also found that each generation believed that their own generation had a sense of entitlement:  60% of Millennials, 49% of Generation X, and 27% of Boomers expressed the belief that their own generation presented as those with an entitlement.  Much has been written of the progeny of helicopter parents – younger workers who need to be validated for the effort and not the result.  However, are Millennials more entitled to position, pay and particular working conditions, or are they more comfortable expressing their expectations and willing to take steps to pursue what is truly important in the workplace?  Obviously, there are many technology companies that have been built on the hard work and enterprise of Millennials.  It is not a matter of not wanting to work hard.

David Baum responds:

Are Millennials entitled?  It’s a question that is difficult to answer.  How can a distinction be drawn between the inconsistencies of youth and the faults of an entire generation when every member of the generation is, currently, young?  How can a whole generation be summed up with a few adjectives?  It’s obviously extraordinarily difficult, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying.  As Eric Hoover notes in “The Millennial Muddle,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (October 11, 2009), “Figuring out young people…is an industry.”  Learning how young people work is lucrative, because getting the most out of employees can be the difference between success and failure for many companies.  Of course, to say anything of value here, I’m going to have to make a number of broad generalizations about my entire generation.  It was said already, but bears repeating: no blanket statement can sum up an entire group of people.  The best I can do is make broad assertions and suggestions, and hope they will be helpful.  As is always the case when dealing with people, knowledge of their unique mix of strengths and weaknesses is the best way to work most effectively with them.

Are all Millennials entitled?  That’s a much easier question to answer: certainly not.  No group of people is a monolith, and Millennials are no exception.  Some Millennials are undoubtedly entitled; others most certainly are not.  Even if we assume the majority of Millennials are entitled, they are at least conscious of it, as the Ernst and Young study notes.  Self-consciousness can help mitigate many shortcomings, and if Millennials believe they are entitled, they are also aware of it it.  Young people are never static – and many young people may see employment as an opportunity to improve themselves.  They will actively seek chances to supplement their skills.  Early employment isn’t a terminal point in their development, it’s the beginning.  Companies that foster this development will be more likely to see their younger employees learn, grow, and shed any entitlement they initially had.

  1.  Millennials have no sense of loyalty to the organization.

Although the study did not directly address this question, the survey did suggest that Millennials are looking for the employer to offer different things to build that loyalty, such as flexibility in workplace.  There does seem to be a difference in today’s workplace in regard to blind loyalty to an enterprise, as compared to generations ago.  Recent college graduates do not expect to stay in one career when entering the workforce, let alone with one employer.  However, that feeling is not confined to Millennials.  The change in the legal profession is a prime example.  Many partners with books of business engage in a peripatetic existence chasing better platforms and more advantageous financial deals.  There is no more the concept of a “partner for life.”  The Boomers have led that charge.  Consequently, loyalty to an enterprise is a fragile concept.  There may be differences in how one creates loyalty depending on the generation considered.

David Baum responds:

If Millennials are more willing to abandon jobs than previous generations, then who is responsible?  What sort of jobs are being abandoned, and for what reasons?  Millennials may be willing to hop from opportunity to opportunity, but more often than not this is an effort to find stability.  Employment has changed, and many young people take jobs that are temporary, low-paying, and subject to radical change at a moment’s notice.  The ability to abandon jobs like these when they turn sour is a defense mechanism – nobody wants to go down with a ship when there are no lifeboats, and no indication that any sort of help will arrive.  Certainly, Millennials will not martyr themselves for companies, but this should hardly be looked at as a negative quality.  If they favor flexibility and monetary benefits over promises of advancement and stability, this may be because they believe any promise of stability is an illusion.

So, what can be offered to them?  I would only suggest that loyalty is a two-way street.  Employees will always be more willing to invest their time and energy when they feel sure that they will be rewarded for it.  And if long-term benefits are impossible, many young people may simply view their jobs are pro forma exchanges – the minimum work they are able to give for the minimal reward they know they will receive.

  1.  Millennials have difficulty communicating.

Millennials unquestionably are more technologically savvy than the other generations.  That impacts the modality of the communication, i.e., written communication through e-mails and especially texts and other instant messages are preferred to picking up the telephone.  Millennials also understand the power of social media and appreciate the reality of a constantly changing world of connectivity.  It is unlikely that Millennials will be resistant to change when the inevitable next generation of communications becomes prevalent.  There is not necessarily difficulty in communicating with Millennials, but there is a difference in the experience of communicating in certain modalities.

David Baum responds:

The way people communicate has changed immensely in even the past five years.  Some businesses have adopted new methods of communication.  Others have remained faithful to older methods.  Many use a combination of the old and new.   Do you need someone to run a Facebook page for your business?  Someone who has used Facebook since its inception is probably best.  But if dozens of phone calls are required, then you might choose someone with a different skill set.  Of course, this is assuming that employees are given no training, and are expected to use the skills they have instead of acquiring new ones.  There are Millennials who have done nothing but learn new modes of communications – of course they will be capable of learning a few more.  The twenty-eight year old hired to lead social media outreach for a company might not come with the same ability to make conversation over the phone that was taken for granted twenty years ago.  But there is a reason that employee is able to keep track of the Facebook pages, Tweets, and blog posts – the employee is a quick learner and is actually a fantastic communicator.  The employee’s definition of communication might just be a bit different than your characterization.   This isn’t a flaw, it’s a feature.

*                  *                    *

For obvious reasons, managers should be careful about over generalizing generational differences.  Individual employees often do not fall within the stereotype.  However, it would be shortsighted to simply dismiss any generational differences as fiction.  Employees, regardless of generation, should be managed in a respectful and supportive manner to maximize the possibility of achieving excellence.  A good manager is akin to a good teacher or coach; that is, there needs to be recognition that there are differences in how employees learn and are motivated.  Finding that key to each employee, including the consideration of any generational overlay, will enhance the probability of management success.

Written by:

Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP

Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide

JD Supra Privacy Policy

Updated: May 25, 2018:

JD Supra is a legal publishing service that connects experts and their content with broader audiences of professionals, journalists and associations.

This Privacy Policy describes how JD Supra, LLC ("JD Supra" or "we," "us," or "our") collects, uses and shares personal data collected from visitors to our website (located at (our "Website") who view only publicly-available content as well as subscribers to our services (such as our email digests or author tools)(our "Services"). By using our Website and registering for one of our Services, you are agreeing to the terms of this Privacy Policy.

Please note that if you subscribe to one of our Services, you can make choices about how we collect, use and share your information through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard (available if you are logged into your JD Supra account).

Collection of Information

Registration Information. When you register with JD Supra for our Website and Services, either as an author or as a subscriber, you will be asked to provide identifying information to create your JD Supra account ("Registration Data"), such as your:

  • Email
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company Name
  • Company Industry
  • Title
  • Country

Other Information: We also collect other information you may voluntarily provide. This may include content you provide for publication. We may also receive your communications with others through our Website and Services (such as contacting an author through our Website) or communications directly with us (such as through email, feedback or other forms or social media). If you are a subscribed user, we will also collect your user preferences, such as the types of articles you would like to read.

Information from third parties (such as, from your employer or LinkedIn): We may also receive information about you from third party sources. For example, your employer may provide your information to us, such as in connection with an article submitted by your employer for publication. If you choose to use LinkedIn to subscribe to our Website and Services, we also collect information related to your LinkedIn account and profile.

Your interactions with our Website and Services: As is true of most websites, we gather certain information automatically. This information includes IP addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp and clickstream data. We use this information to analyze trends, to administer the Website and our Services, to improve the content and performance of our Website and Services, and to track users' movements around the site. We may also link this automatically-collected data to personal information, for example, to inform authors about who has read their articles. Some of this data is collected through information sent by your web browser. We also use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect this information. To learn more about cookies and other tracking technologies that JD Supra may use on our Website and Services please see our "Cookies Guide" page.

How do we use this information?

We use the information and data we collect principally in order to provide our Website and Services. More specifically, we may use your personal information to:

  • Operate our Website and Services and publish content;
  • Distribute content to you in accordance with your preferences as well as to provide other notifications to you (for example, updates about our policies and terms);
  • Measure readership and usage of the Website and Services;
  • Communicate with you regarding your questions and requests;
  • Authenticate users and to provide for the safety and security of our Website and Services;
  • Conduct research and similar activities to improve our Website and Services; and
  • Comply with our legal and regulatory responsibilities and to enforce our rights.

How is your information shared?

  • Content and other public information (such as an author profile) is shared on our Website and Services, including via email digests and social media feeds, and is accessible to the general public.
  • If you choose to use our Website and Services to communicate directly with a company or individual, such communication may be shared accordingly.
  • Readership information is provided to publishing law firms and authors of content to give them insight into their readership and to help them to improve their content.
  • Our Website may offer you the opportunity to share information through our Website, such as through Facebook's "Like" or Twitter's "Tweet" button. We offer this functionality to help generate interest in our Website and content and to permit you to recommend content to your contacts. You should be aware that sharing through such functionality may result in information being collected by the applicable social media network and possibly being made publicly available (for example, through a search engine). Any such information collection would be subject to such third party social media network's privacy policy.
  • Your information may also be shared to parties who support our business, such as professional advisors as well as web-hosting providers, analytics providers and other information technology providers.
  • Any court, governmental authority, law enforcement agency or other third party where we believe disclosure is necessary to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation, or otherwise to protect our rights, the rights of any third party or individuals' personal safety, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or safety issues.
  • To our affiliated entities and in connection with the sale, assignment or other transfer of our company or our business.

How We Protect Your Information

JD Supra takes reasonable and appropriate precautions to insure that user information is protected from loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. You should keep in mind that no Internet transmission is ever 100% secure or error-free. Where you use log-in credentials (usernames, passwords) on our Website, please remember that it is your responsibility to safeguard them. If you believe that your log-in credentials have been compromised, please contact us at

Children's Information

Our Website and Services are not directed at children under the age of 16 and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 16 through our Website and/or Services. If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 16 has provided personal information to us, please contact us, and we will endeavor to delete that information from our databases.

Links to Other Websites

Our Website and Services may contain links to other websites. The operators of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using our Website or Services and click a link to another site, you will leave our Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We are not responsible for the data collection and use practices of such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of our Website and Services and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Information for EU and Swiss Residents

JD Supra's principal place of business is in the United States. By subscribing to our website, you expressly consent to your information being processed in the United States.

  • Our Legal Basis for Processing: Generally, we rely on our legitimate interests in order to process your personal information. For example, we rely on this legal ground if we use your personal information to manage your Registration Data and administer our relationship with you; to deliver our Website and Services; understand and improve our Website and Services; report reader analytics to our authors; to personalize your experience on our Website and Services; and where necessary to protect or defend our or another's rights or property, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, safety or privacy issues. Please see Article 6(1)(f) of the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") In addition, there may be other situations where other grounds for processing may exist, such as where processing is a result of legal requirements (GDPR Article 6(1)(c)) or for reasons of public interest (GDPR Article 6(1)(e)). Please see the "Your Rights" section of this Privacy Policy immediately below for more information about how you may request that we limit or refrain from processing your personal information.
  • Your Rights
    • Right of Access/Portability: You can ask to review details about the information we hold about you and how that information has been used and disclosed. Note that we may request to verify your identification before fulfilling your request. You can also request that your personal information is provided to you in a commonly used electronic format so that you can share it with other organizations.
    • Right to Correct Information: You may ask that we make corrections to any information we hold, if you believe such correction to be necessary.
    • Right to Restrict Our Processing or Erasure of Information: You also have the right in certain circumstances to ask us to restrict processing of your personal information or to erase your personal information. Where you have consented to our use of your personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

You can make a request to exercise any of these rights by emailing us at or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

You can also manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard.

We will make all practical efforts to respect your wishes. There may be times, however, where we are not able to fulfill your request, for example, if applicable law prohibits our compliance. Please note that JD Supra does not use "automatic decision making" or "profiling" as those terms are defined in the GDPR.

  • Timeframe for retaining your personal information: We will retain your personal information in a form that identifies you only for as long as it serves the purpose(s) for which it was initially collected as stated in this Privacy Policy, or subsequently authorized. We may continue processing your personal information for longer periods, but only for the time and to the extent such processing reasonably serves the purposes of archiving in the public interest, journalism, literature and art, scientific or historical research and statistical analysis, and subject to the protection of this Privacy Policy. For example, if you are an author, your personal information may continue to be published in connection with your article indefinitely. When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize it, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.
  • Onward Transfer to Third Parties: As noted in the "How We Share Your Data" Section above, JD Supra may share your information with third parties. When JD Supra discloses your personal information to third parties, we have ensured that such third parties have either certified under the EU-U.S. or Swiss Privacy Shield Framework and will process all personal data received from EU member states/Switzerland in reliance on the applicable Privacy Shield Framework or that they have been subjected to strict contractual provisions in their contract with us to guarantee an adequate level of data protection for your data.

California Privacy Rights

Pursuant to Section 1798.83 of the California Civil Code, our customers who are California residents have the right to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

You can make a request for this information by emailing us at or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

Some browsers have incorporated a Do Not Track (DNT) feature. These features, when turned on, send a signal that you prefer that the website you are visiting not collect and use data regarding your online searching and browsing activities. As there is not yet a common understanding on how to interpret the DNT signal, we currently do not respond to DNT signals on our site.

Access/Correct/Update/Delete Personal Information

For non-EU/Swiss residents, if you would like to know what personal information we have about you, you can send an e-mail to We will be in contact with you (by mail or otherwise) to verify your identity and provide you the information you request. We will respond within 30 days to your request for access to your personal information. In some cases, we may not be able to remove your personal information, in which case we will let you know if we are unable to do so and why. If you would like to correct or update your personal information, you can manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard. If you would like to delete your account or remove your information from our Website and Services, send an e-mail to

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our Privacy Policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use our Website and Services following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, your dealings with our Website or Services, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

JD Supra Cookie Guide

As with many websites, JD Supra's website (located at (our "Website") and our services (such as our email article digests)(our "Services") use a standard technology called a "cookie" and other similar technologies (such as, pixels and web beacons), which are small data files that are transferred to your computer when you use our Website and Services. These technologies automatically identify your browser whenever you interact with our Website and Services.

How We Use Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to:

  1. Improve the user experience on our Website and Services;
  2. Store the authorization token that users receive when they login to the private areas of our Website. This token is specific to a user's login session and requires a valid username and password to obtain. It is required to access the user's profile information, subscriptions, and analytics;
  3. Track anonymous site usage; and
  4. Permit connectivity with social media networks to permit content sharing.

There are different types of cookies and other technologies used our Website, notably:

  • "Session cookies" - These cookies only last as long as your online session, and disappear from your computer or device when you close your browser (like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Safari).
  • "Persistent cookies" - These cookies stay on your computer or device after your browser has been closed and last for a time specified in the cookie. We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.
  • "Web Beacons/Pixels" - Some of our web pages and emails may also contain small electronic images known as web beacons, clear GIFs or single-pixel GIFs. These images are placed on a web page or email and typically work in conjunction with cookies to collect data. We use these images to identify our users and user behavior, such as counting the number of users who have visited a web page or acted upon one of our email digests.

JD Supra Cookies. We place our own cookies on your computer to track certain information about you while you are using our Website and Services. For example, we place a session cookie on your computer each time you visit our Website. We use these cookies to allow you to log-in to your subscriber account. In addition, through these cookies we are able to collect information about how you use the Website, including what browser you may be using, your IP address, and the URL address you came from upon visiting our Website and the URL you next visit (even if those URLs are not on our Website). We also utilize email web beacons to monitor whether our emails are being delivered and read. We also use these tools to help deliver reader analytics to our authors to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

Analytics/Performance Cookies. JD Supra also uses the following analytic tools to help us analyze the performance of our Website and Services as well as how visitors use our Website and Services:

  • HubSpot - For more information about HubSpot cookies, please visit
  • New Relic - For more information on New Relic cookies, please visit
  • Google Analytics - For more information on Google Analytics cookies, visit To opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit This will allow you to download and install a Google Analytics cookie-free web browser.

Facebook, Twitter and other Social Network Cookies. Our content pages allow you to share content appearing on our Website and Services to your social media accounts through the "Like," "Tweet," or similar buttons displayed on such pages. To accomplish this Service, we embed code that such third party social networks provide and that we do not control. These buttons know that you are logged in to your social network account and therefore such social networks could also know that you are viewing the JD Supra Website.

Controlling and Deleting Cookies

If you would like to change how a browser uses cookies, including blocking or deleting cookies from the JD Supra Website and Services you can do so by changing the settings in your web browser. To control cookies, most browsers allow you to either accept or reject all cookies, only accept certain types of cookies, or prompt you every time a site wishes to save a cookie. It's also easy to delete cookies that are already saved on your device by a browser.

The processes for controlling and deleting cookies vary depending on which browser you use. To find out how to do so with a particular browser, you can use your browser's "Help" function or alternatively, you can visit which explains, step-by-step, how to control and delete cookies in most browsers.

Updates to This Policy

We may update this cookie policy and our Privacy Policy from time-to-time, particularly as technology changes. You can always check this page for the latest version. We may also notify you of changes to our privacy policy by email.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about how we use cookies and other tracking technologies, please contact us at:

- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.