4 Misconceptions About Millennials Working in Meetings

They're not goofing off on their iPhones, they’re just underutilized.

Next month Convene will explore best practices for building internships as part of our CMP Series. Some of the meeting planners and hospitality professors we talked to think the Millennial generation gets a bad rap. Here are some common misconceptions:

1. They’re lazy
A comment complaint leveled at the Millennial contingent is that they don’t take work as seriously as older generations. Hospitality professor and student adviser Cynthia Vannucci, Ph.D., sees how damaging this attitude can be to the students she advises as part of her university’s internship program. “I’m like the Joan of Arc that says, ‘No, no, no, you have got an abundance of talent and a work ethic that beats the socks off of so many, attention to detail, and the desire to do this job. Don’t undersell yourself.’”

2. They’re able to provide ad-hoc tech support
Vannucci has also heard her students complain that employers see them as “computer whizzes who can just hack their way into anything.”

3. They’re only interested in their own projects
“They don’t necessarily want to just be given a piece of the puzzle and then be told to ‘Come back and tell me when you’re done,’” says Liz King, CEO of Liz King Events as well as the techsytalk event-technology platform. “They want to see how it fits in to everything.”

4. They’re glued to their phones
“[Employers] see them on their phone they see them texting that’s what they think about them,” said University of Arkansas hospitality professor Godwin-Charles Ogbeide, Ph.D. “The truth of the matter is they are bored because you don’t have organized or active work for them. They are done already and they have the time to gossip on the phone.”

Kate Mulcrone

Kate Mulcrone is digital editor of Convene.

  • Ben

    The fact that you listed 1, 3 & 4 tells me millennials have no initiative. When I was an intern, I asked for more work when I was finished with a project or inquired if I wanted to know more about something. Sounds like these young adults need to be spoon fed everything. Why gravitate to your phone and texting when there is more to do and learn? Just ask.

    • Kristin

      Millennials do ask for more work when they’ve finished their current project. However, a lot of companies underutilize this group and do not involve them in big picture conversations. So after asking for additional work and being given little to none, they give up and will eventually move on to a company that values them. And in the meantime, yes that includes being on their phone.
      The problem with older generations is exactly what you mentioned in your comment, “When I was an intern..” or “when I was your age…”. Older generations are too busy worrying about what they had to do to get to where they are now to realize that the working world doesn’t operate the same way anymore.