By Puja Disha Bharwani

As someone who firmly sits in the Generation X bracket, I often find myself baffled by some of the behavioral traits of millennials, also known as Generation Y. Speak to almost any older employer who has to work with Generation X, you will hear things like “self- entitled, disloyal, narcissistic, always right” as adjectives used to describe millennials. My favourite is what some people in Asia call them—the ‘Strawberry Generation’. This refers to the attribute that millennials are “easily bruised and require constant praise”.

To anyone not living on Mars, it is pretty evident that this group of working adults, who have grown up with smart phones as extensions of their bodies, have a stronger grasp on technology and its power compared to their senior Gen X counterparts.

There are many qualities to admire in millennials–their adaptability to the digital world, their sense of adventure to travel and make the most of their life in a borderless world and their ability to speak out and take risks as they make a living out of cleverly navigating their way on social media platforms to create a brand for themselves and their businesses.

According to a study done by PwC, by 2020, millennials will form 50% of the global workforce. Like it or not, they present a force to be reckoned with and embraced in the work space.

As I try to understand the psychology of Gen Y’ers and navigate my way around them, I want to understand what makes them tick.

Here’s a definitive listicle of the 6 values millennials hold near and dear to them. It is very useful to keep in mind when working, communicating or parenting them. I have intertwined them with quotes from some great millennials in my life.

It is very useful to keep in mind when working, communicating or parenting them. I have intertwined them with quotes from some great millennials in my life.


They are never afraid to say how they feel and expect that honesty in return. So don’t be afraid to tell them how you feel. But remember to give the positive before unleashing the negative.

“We have always been taught to speak out and say what we feel. If the person doesn’t like it, it isn’t really our problem.”


Personalised everything–headphones, bags, T-shirts and even Nutella jars. This group loves to feel they own something special and different.

“We are not afraid to do things differently, in fact we welcome it.”


This group is already over-loaded with content and likes to send and receive information and communicate in bite-sizes. Keep it short, sharp and witty if you can—on e-mail, in person and face-to-
face conversations.

“You need to grab our attention for us to give you attention. Bite size content that cuts through the clutter.”


According to a study in the United States, one in four millennials said conflict arose from the older generations reluctance to use new technology. They want you not just to use technology, but embrace it.

“For Gen X’ers I find that it’s hard for them to comprehend the concept of multi-tasking. As a millennial, I find that at all times I constantly have 3 different screens open and my smartphone is an extension of my arm.”


Their lack of drive for money and tangible assets will likely produce the largest number of social entrepreneurs any generation has ever seen. They are driven by the passion and causes they believe in. Businesses have to be scalable yet sustainable.

“Work is no longer just a place for us to make money, it’s a part of our lives that supports our beliefs.”


This one also came as a surprise to me, given most of their relationships are virtual before real.

“Regaining our trust is tough. We value relationships that are real, honest and true to the person from the start. Don’t be fake.”

We have a lot to learn in terms of how millennials view the world. Gen Y’ers can think out of the box and follow their dreams, but if those traits are coupled with Gen X qualities such as being grounded and responsible to fulfill that dream and having a firm grip on the values of commitment and discipline, the results will be highly productive.

Gen Y needs to embrace Gen X and together make the future of the workspace balanced, tech-savvy, highly productive while creating a flexible and open work environment at the same time. Yet, one must be accountable and most importantly contribute collectively to the improvement of society and a larger vision as opposed to just profits. Research has shown that Generation Y has proven to be loyal to leaders who value their opinions and given them frequent positive feedback. But, they too need to learn from history and our way of thinking based on the experiences we have been through.

For the Gen X and Y equation to be effective in the work place, there needs to be synergy. Both groups have a lot to offer and they need to embrace it, work together and watch the magic happen!