Lauren Rikleen’s book “You Raised Us – Now Work With Us” began to take shape while she was promoting her previous book. “I began to notice in so many presentations this real negativity in the questions being asked about the younger generation in the workplace,” Rikleen explains. She admits that the tone of the questions didn’t resonate with her.
At the time, Rikleen was very hopeful about data she was seeing regarding Millennials. She was encouraged by a generation that seemed to be looking at work/life integration in a very new way. For the first time data suggested that both young men and women were saying workplace flexibility was critical. Researching and writing “You Raised Us – Now Work With Us: Millennials, Career Success, and Building Strong Workplace Teams” was an opportunity to champion that cause while simultaneously chipping away at the negative misperceptions that persist with respect to this generation.
Millennial’s Impression of the Impression of Millennials
To inform the book, Rikleen created a survey targeted specifically at Millennials. She asked questioned that centered on their perceived reputation. Respondents were asked to weigh in on topics that continue to permeate popular media including Millennial entitlement, lack of professional loyalty and communication styles. Many of the answers she received to her open-ended questions are included word-for-word in the book.
Rikleen is encouraged by the Millennial push for increased flexibility in the workplace. She’s seen the need for this type of change for some time. “Flexibility is a huge barrier for women in the workplace,” Rikleen suggests. “Even if women’s work/family circumstances aren’t a barrier, they are perceived as one. Women’s commitment, time and engagement are always questioned.” She admits that it’s a struggle that has been discussed for years.
Workplace Flexibility Is No Longer a Women’s Issue
It’s encouraging to consider that the struggle is no longer one being discussed only by women. The sheer size of the Millennial generation and its collective attention to the need for flexibility might move the conversation to actual implementation.
In her book, Rikleen writes, “Millennials reject the notion that success is measured by income and long hours. Millennials see a much broader meaning to the word. They see success as including the opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their families.” Perhaps this is based on what Rikleen suggests is the Millennials collective experience, “They recognize that even as Boomers and Gen Xers gave their all to work, they were not immune to the economics of their times.”
Rikleen believes employers no longer have a reason to resist this change. She argues, “We now have all the tools we need for workplace flexibility to be meaningful and to work in all directions. And now we have a generation that has the capacity to use these tools because they’ve been raised to be so technologically proficient.”
Lauren Stiller Rikleen is a nationally recognized expert on developing a thriving, diverse and multi-generational workforce. As President of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership, Lauren conducts workshops, speaks at conferences, retreats, and professional events and provides training programs. Get your copy of You Raised Us – Now Work With Us or connect with her on Twitter @LaurenRikleen.