LinkedIn Work Study Reveals Millennials Are More Likely to Divulge Personal Details In the Office

Millennials are indeed over sharers – but does it help or hurt them at work?

Much has been made of the communication style that has come out of millennials’ heavy internet use. We all know that they communicate differently with their friends, but what happens as millennials go to work, which is increasingly, if slowly, becoming a reality? LinkedIn recently commissioned a study of 11,500 full-time professionals from CensusWide. The final report, called Relationships @Work, investigated social relationships in the workplace across generations and nations, shedding new light on how generational and technological shifts – including their networking site itself – might be affecting hiring and advancement.

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Various parts of the study focused on the aspects of workplace relations that might be salient to people in different cultures and at different stages in their lives. For example, some of the questions focused on the inherently enjoyable aspects of workplace friendships, while others addressed their role in career advancement – a somewhat more mercenary view. Perhaps unsurprisingly, millennials benefited the most emotionally from workplace friendships, saying they made them feel happy (57 percent), motivated (50 percent) and productive (39 percent). Only two out of five baby boomers, however, said socializing in-person with coworkers made their working environment better, compared to three in five millennials.

In a surprising reversal for the older generations who hold taboos on talking about things like salary, 67% of millennials are likely to share such personal details with co-workers, compared to only about one third of baby boomers. One in three (28%) millennials have also texted a manager during out of work hours about a non-work-related issue.

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Millennials also have the career benefits of friendship on lock, though: one in three believe that socializing with colleagues in person will help advance their career – though we wonder what the other 66% or so think.

However, there are also indications that Boomers, in an entirely different stage of life, don’t see themselves benefiting much either way from their work relationships. 45% of workers ages 55-65 said that friendships with colleagues had no bearing on their work performance.

Some statistics revealed by the study, however, paint a more complex picture of workplace relationships than just a narrative about generational divide, in particular offering strong contrasts in cultures across the world. 51% of professionals in Indonesia, for example, believe their colleagues understand them better than their friends, vs. only 9% in the UK. More work will have to be done on the unusual social habits of millennials to find out why this is.

You can look at the full infographic here.

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