During the last few years, many expressions and words have seemed to keep popping up out of nowhere or reemerging and making their way into common parlance. One of those words is “millennials.” The word has been widely used that The Education and Culture of Ministry of Indonesia hailed it as the word of the year in 2019.
“Millennial” is a very divisive word because most people attribute it to a generation of youngsters to criticize or poke fun at their behavior. Ironically, they’re also the source of some popular slang and fads now. To some people labeled as “boomers,” millennials are stereotyped as people who love using TikTok and having avocado toasts while sipping their Starbucks frappe. And millennials have a lot to clap back at these people, hence the “Okay, boomer” expression and meme.
What Is a Millennial?
Besides being a word that invites controversy, the term “millennials” has an official dictionary meaning. They are a group of people born between 1981 and 1996 and have reached adulthood in the early 21st century.
Being entitled and spoiled are some of the many characteristics most commonly associated with the millennial generation. It is debatable whether it’s true or just a stereotype caused by the generation gaps between millennials and older generations.
How Millennials Shaped Business Practices
It’s an endless battle between boomers and the millennials and all the generations in between. But, all of us have contributed to the current state of the world in both good and bad ways. Millennials, most especially, have had a significant impact on many things, especially how we do business, and here are some of them:
- Millennials have paved the way for more businesses to be more open to the current trends in utilizing technologies. Since most millennials are born in the Internet age and the dawn of the modern digital world, they are very tech-savvy. They were even able to influence businesses to adapt to digital marketing and use the latest software that increases productivity. There’s no question that many companies have changed the way they market to consumers because of this.
- Millennials have adopted more sustainable ways of doing business. It’s a current mainstream trend to recycle, reuse, use less plastic, and more. Millennials do this to address the climate crisis by being more environment-friendly and conscious of our carbon footprint. As a consequence, more consumers are ready to shell out more money for eco-friendly products.
- Millennials have supported and worked for businesses that have a sense of purpose. The millennial generation is more aware of how even our smallest actions can ripple into something bigger and affect our communities. So, they would usually voice out their support for businesses that positively impact the world and criticize those who don’t. Therefore, more companies started finding ways on how to become more socially responsible.
- Millennials have added equality to the business equation. More people have started becoming more aware of the pay gap between men and women and the unfair treatment of some marginalized groups. And because these are problems that millennials are more active in dismantling, more businesses have found a way to be more diverse and inclusive.
- Millennials have redefined the customer service industry. Since millennials take up a considerable portion of the consumer demographics, more businesses want to keep their stellar reputations by being more customer-centered. That’s better than them being shamed or getting a thumbs down and one-star ratings on social media platforms.
- Millennials have supported work-life balance. This generation of workers has made remote work, flexible hours, and four-day work week more possible by prioritizing themselves and life outside the office.
- Millennials have raised the standards and wages available for a lot of people. Whether it’s a sense of entitlement that most millennials are criticized for, asking for more from their employers has also impacted business practices. It’s essential to know our worth after all.
- Millennials have helped rewrite job qualifications. There used to be many companies with ridiculous requirements just to get hired for an entry-level job. It’s like you’re applying for a managerial position sometimes. Because of millennials and how they expressed disappointments for such practices, it seems like the tides are changing.
- Millennials have influenced the franchising business. Most companies have decided to cater to the taste and needs of this generation by upgrading several aspects of their businesses. Nowadays, it’s prevalent to find restaurants with a vegan menu that serves drinks without plastic straws. It’s not millennials who started the sustainability trend, but they are definitely the most vocal in supporting it. The cost of franchises such as sandwich shops and brunch places has also changed to attract more millennials since, besides being consumers, they are also business-minded individuals.
More generations are emerging into the mainstream consciousness such as Generation Z and Generation Alpha. They are most likely be the generation that will inherit the world that millennials have helped shape and are currently still shaping, hopefully in the same direction. This time, let’s hope there wouldn’t be another generation war between the three and the future ones.