I had a very interesting (and in some ways disturbing) conversation last week about the work ethic of millennials – people born in the 80s and 90s. A friend of mine mentioned how his company was focused on hiring more millennials to fill open job positions. He also said the company was training employees on how different generations tend to communicate.

I told him I was impressed with his company’s proactive approach to better communication and helping different generations work together more efficiently. Many companies overlook it completely. Others in the room didn’t see it my way and went on somewhat of a rant about millennials being lazy. It was disturbing to me how many older people still think of millennials as slackers. They are far from it.

Part of their “slacker” reputation came from circumstances beyond their control. Older millennials entered the job market during the economic downturn caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Young millennials entered the job market during the Great Recession. They couldn’t find jobs and had student loans the size or mortgages to start paying. Many lived (and continue to live) with their parents longer out of financial necessity.

“Millennials are hungrier and more well-educated than any generation in history, and they understand technology,” said Andrew Challenger, a vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in an article at CNBC.com.

Millennials want to be valued for their knowledge. If you spent $100,000+ on your education, you would want that, too. Value them for their strengths, and be mentors to them in areas where they lack knowledge and experience.

Read the rest of this blog post in the latest issue of my monthly e-newsletter and learn why it’s time to embrace this group of people. Also in the newsletter, I give you a real-time example of how social media can get out of hand when businesses don’t adequately plan or put the manpower in place to handle it. Use this information in your in your annual planning sessions to assess your social media goals and determining what resources you will need to meet those goals.