Hi there! In my last post, I discussed some stereotypes that we as millennials face on a pretty regular basis. Today, I would like to discuss how we can utilize these supposed “flaws” so that they can actually help us in the work place!
One constant criticism that I always hear is that the millennial generation is selfish. What people fail to realize, however, is that our technological individuality can be used in a way that extends far beyond posting selfies to Instagram. How is this possible you ask? The answer lies in the idea of user-centered design.
What exactly is user-centered design? Most concisely, this topic refers to the notion of keeping your audience in mind when performing some sort of task. The diagram below courtesy of Michigan State University illustrates the end user driven focus of user-centered design:
In this design process, the needs of the audience are always kept in mind. The ability, therefore, to be able to connect and form a relationship with an audience is crucial. This is where we excel. We are connected to our followers on social media, we keep tabs on friends and their interests, and we are connected to our society in a way that has never been done before…what some people call being a slave to technology is actually an unprecedented asset in the business world. And the benefits of such skills are starting to show.
In his article entitled “4 Nanodegree Programs That Will Help You Land a Job Without Going to College”, author Lax Brown proposed that the average salary for a person skilled in user-experience design is $90,000 per year. That should prove just how valuable that kind of mindset is.
Likewise, in a publishing by spendmatters.com, it is estimated that the “cost to replace a millennial employee” can be anywhere between “$15,000 and $25,000”. The idea that millennials have to intrinsic value to the workplace is starting to sound more and more ridiculous.
Alright, so we have the skill, so what? Below, I have highlighted what I think to be the top three things that Millennials should use to excel in the workplace.
One: Rhetorical Awareness. As stated above, the ability to connect with an audience is the best way to earn a profit and benefit a company. Maintaining a following on social media platforms is a great way to keep tabs on potential customers. As millennials, most of us have already completed this step.
Two: Create a relationship with followers. Your social media profile is a brand. People like brands. Take Nike for example. Whenever you see the swoosh logo, certain images and ideas come to mind: athletics, strength, victory…the same can be said with your online image. When people pull up your Twitter or read your Facebook posts, what do you want them to see? What images and ideas do you want to be associated with in relation to your own personal brand? By being mindful about what you share online, you can create a relationship with your followers. This relationship is key if you want to understand your potential client base.
Three: Take time to understand the needs of the end-user. By looking at their other interests and listening to their feedback, you can truly understand their values. If you know what they value, then you know how to cater to their needs. If you can cater to their needs…well, then you are an extremely valuable player in the working environment.
In an article entitled “How Millennials are Making the Extended Workforce a Better Place” by spendmatters.com, it is explained that there is a huge benefit to businesses that take advantage of the millennial skillset. To quote the article:
“Pay attention. This is what the future looks like. Smart organizations are looking for ways to access and engage talented millennial workers right now”.
We have the ability, it is really only a matter of harnessing our skill set so that we can excel in the workplace.