Last night, Moulis Legal’s senior lawyer Ann Jovanovic joined the panel for the Property Council of Australia’s Future Directions event “Unlocking the Millennial Mindset”. There are many stereotypes out there on millennials, and often they are the subject of ridicule and criticism, but there’s no denying that they are set to take over the workforce (and in many organisations they already do). So rather than deriding this generation, it makes good business practice to understand how they work, how to attract and retain millennial talent, and how to support them in their career success. In this panel event, Ann – along with her panel members – sought to debunk the many generational myths surrounding millennials.

Highlights of the panel discussion included the pros and cons of flexible working conditions, and whether it is actually profitable for organisations to invest in work flexibility. Although it was reported that early studies show that some organisations are not seeing the cost benefits in the money spent on creating flexible work environments, the panel acknowledged that the measure of business success is not just profits and it was noted that other benefits and measures of success need to be appreciated, such as enhanced productivity, health and well-being, and retention of staff.

Stereotypes around millennials being demanding with a thirst for ongoing learning and development were further explored as well. The panel and audience were uniform in their views that millennials expect a faster pace in their career progression than other generations but the panel was optimistic about these millennial attitudes. One panel member who oversees a team comprised of many millennials discussed how this insatiable appetite for more learning and professional growth has been well received in their organisation, which has responded to these needs by empowering their millennials to take control of their careers in the work they do and the learning and development opportunities that are offered to them. These millennials were perceived as well-rounded, high performing individuals in the organisation.

Ann delved into the issue of loyalty among millennials, and expressed the view that this was not a generational issue but rather simply one that arises due to age, experience and circumstances. Other driving forces shifting millennials to be more ‘loyal’ in recent times, such as economic conditions, cost of living in Australia, and political tensions, were also taken into account. The panel was left questioning the true meaning of ‘loyalty’ to a millennial though – did that mean staying with one employer for a long time? Or to a millennial is it really all about being loyal to ongoing learning and development wherever that may take them?

It was an insightful night for those who attended to better understand the peculiarities that make up today’s millennial.