Millennial Myths & Learning for Contact Centre Management

I read an interesting article by Jennifer J Deal at strategy+business looking at three myths we hold about Millennials (Those employees born between 1980 – 2,000).

For the past number of years we have all heard horror stories about organizations that gave away iPads, spot bonuses, socially conscious and social responsible activities, but still had staff leave for greener pastures.  

This point has been used time and again to characterize the lack of loyalty that Millennials are supposed to posses, which makes hiring and retaining them difficult. Call centers I know of have changed their mobile phone policies to allow Millennials to have the phones on and with them at their desks and they are free to check facebook or twitter between calls. These same centers often speak of Millennials feeling entitled to the fast track to easy street, their lack of interest in their work and difficulty managing them. 

This all fits well with our stereotypes and our expectations around Millennials, but it may be all wrong. The article cites research involving thousands of respondents and dashes five of the major millennial myths completely. 

Myth One – Millennials do not necessarily follow direction! 

Conventional wisdom would have it that Millennials don’t want to be told what to do or follow direction.  The research (Center for Creative Leadership) however shows that Millennials are more likely to follow direction than are Gen Xers’ or Baby Boomers. 41% of Millennials agreed with a statement that Employees should do what their Manager tells them, versus only 30% for each the Gen Xers’ and Baby Boomers.  

If you think about this the results really are not too surprising. Millennials know that following direction from authority figures often ends well (at least it has done so often for most of us as children).  This perspective on Millennials also creates an opportunity to engage with these individuals by ensuring they understand and appreciate the organizations culture, values and expectations. 

Myth Two – Millennials are less loyal 

Myths surround Millennials loyalty or perceived lack thereof, but the research shows that Millennials have a similar level of loyalty and commitment as Gen Xers’ and Baby Boomers.  It is a fact that younger workers tend to change jobs more frequently, even the Baby Boomers were guilty of this. This ‘young age = job hopping’ was even true when jobs were often perceived to be for life. 

Myth Three – Motivation and Pay 

Similarly Millennials are just as motivated as their Gen X and Baby Boomer predecessors were by work. As with job hopping the lower you are in the hierarchy regardless of your generation the less motivated you will be. There is no link between your generation and you motivation by perks and high pay.  Everyone loves perks and who wouldn’t want high pay, but neither of these attributes is unique to Millennials, Gen Xers’ and Baby Boomers display the same behavior and there is no evidence in the research to show these perks improve loyalty regardless of age.                                        

What does this mean for Contact Center Managers? So what does this mean to you in managing your call center?  

  • Well first of all I think you can lose the generational labels. Increasingly Millennials look just the same as you and I, only younger.  
  • Second forget trying to attract them with the perceived hot-buttons around perks, toys and special treatment. Nothing the research shows that these tactics work. the ability to take direction is one area where Millennials perform better than Gen X or Baby Boomer workers and this provides you with a great opportunity to share what your company is about and to show them how they make a difference.  
  • Be specific with how they will be judged and assessed and what you expect of them.  
  • Transparency is also valued by workers of every generation and Millennials are no different. So be open, transparent and specific about what they are to do and what you expect them to achieve and you can be well on your way to a successful working relationship. 

‘By Internet research counts, 75,000,000 Millennials are preparing to join or joining the workforce. These are desirable employees.  Make your Millennial employees happy in a fun, yet structured setting, and you are building the foundation for the superior workforce you desire. You are developing the workforce of your future!’ 


Colin Taylor, CEO of Taylor Research Group is an Industry veteran who started his career on the phones. Colin spent 18 years in the outsource industry building and running one of the largest outsource companies in the country. Since 2003 Colin has operated The Taylor Reach Group a call and contact center consultancy. Recognized as one of Canada’s leading contact/call center experts, Colin has received 27 RSVP Awards for excellence in Customer Contact Center Management from the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA). A founder and past chair of the Contact/Call Center Counsel and a past Director of the CMA. He is an author and a frequent speaker on Customer Service, Operational Innovation, CRM, Contact Centers, and Team Building.  

Article provided by Customer Services Audit.