Millennials might not be the nightmare employees everyone was worried about

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Much of the millennial generation is now safely ensconced in the office.

And, surprisingly, they’re not half bad.

A new study released by boutique research firm 747 Insights in partnership with consumer intelligence platform Collaborata found that “Playing against type, millennials are actually an employer’s dream.”

“For so long, people talked about the millennials as having helicopter parents, and them being unprepared, and their parents doing everything for them,” Michael Wood, principal at 747 Insights, told Business Insider. “They were entitled and they weren’t hard workers. I think they surprised a lot of people because they’re turning out to not be that at all.”

In the study, called “Generation Nation,” researchers surveyed over 4,000 Americans from their late teens to their early 70s to find out how they feel about everything from work to friendships to brands, and analysed their responses. Millennials were defined as people born 1981-1997, meaning they’re currently ages 20-36.

“Millennials truly care about their work,” wrote the researchers. “And they care about it beyond being a means to a paycheck.”

This caring might have something to do with millennials’ hope for the future and their unwavering support for an employer they can believe in: “They’re very hopeful, and they have a positive outlook on their generation and what they’re going to contribute to the greater good,” Wood said. The Harvard Business Review recommended that to attract, keep, and engage millennials, a company must “have a deeply compelling vision” of how its work contributes to society.

Millennials are willing to work hard for an employer who supports them, and they tend to blur the lines between life and work, found the 747 Insight report — they’re more willing than members of other generations to catch up on work during their personal time.

Respondents from this age group were also the most likely to agree with the statements “If I work hard, I can do anything,” and “I believe in working hard and playing hard” — the latter is probably less surprising. And, while you can probably take this stat with a grain of self-aware salt, 57% of millennial survey respondents consider themselves to be hard workers.

Previous research came to different conclusions. For instance, Psychology professor Jean Twenge pointed to the Monitoring the Future project, which surveyed high school seniors starting in 1976 and found that millennial respondents were less willing to work hard, less willing to work overtime, and more interested in quitting work completely if they had enough money than previous generations were at the same age.

But now, millennials are a little older. And while there are certainly exceptions to the rule, it looks like millennial employees aren’t quite as bad as everyone thought they would be.

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