Millennials suck. At least that’s the general consensus.
Lazy, entitled, self-absorbed, unruly, (someone’s written a longer list here) it’s easy to see where all the hate comes from. And as millennials form a huge percentage of the current workforce, their habits have permeated the workplace.
Business leaders and HR managers, rarely have nice things to say about them. They are usually at the bottom of the pile when it comes to getting promoted at work. All due to their douchey-ness.
Startups are a great way for millennials to let loose, be themselves (unruly and self absorbed) as much as they want. And they get to do it with other millennials since the age range of high growth startup founders is around 20 – 34. VCs are also quite biased towards younger founders (i.e. millennials). So, it’s just one big douchey millennial party at the startup. And this isn’t really a problem, at least in the early stages of your startup. Startups take a lot of work and if you can bring it, nobody really cares how much of a douchebag you are or how sub par your social skills get.
The problem arises though when the startup begins to grow. Habits have a way of forming company culture which become near impossible to change when formed.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is the emotional culture you’re building right out of the gate.
Emotional culture is one of the pillars of an optimal workplace. And while no one is clamoring for hand holding or hugs, employees do perform better when the work atmosphere is respectful and “warm”. A study on employee workplace performance (a really good read by the way) showed that “people who worked in a culture where they felt free to express affection, tenderness, caring, and compassion for one another were more satisfied with their jobs, committed to the organization, and accountable for their performance.”
Ego battles, snark, cynicism and one-liner battles are just a few of the habits that can subtly render a work environment toxic. Couple that with the rate at which the media (and everything else) is becoming politically correct, and you know that your startup’s millennial douchey-ness (I’m falling in love with that word) that was so much fun in the beginning days of your startup. may just come back to haunt you.