There’s been a lot of “hissing” recently over a Google Chrome extension that replaces “millennials” with “snake people”. Check it out and have a couple laughs on a weekday afternoon.

Although your new web browser toy may have a humorous bite, the millennial HR problem has some real venom to it. Turning a generation into a cliché can hurt some feelings. Just ask the Baby Boomers about when they were young. That’s why you should never forget to treat your employees like people above all else.

The Dangers of Snake People Mythssssssssssss

We’ve all heard the experts and pundits chime in on millennials in the workplace – they have different goals, want constant acclaim, and like to talk about how they started listening to their favorite band before you. And it’s easy to understand why there’s an urge to get to know this group – 75% of the workforce will be millennials by 2025.

If you stereotype your employees by their and age and age alone, you lose the HR opportunity to get to know who your workers really are. Take a look at some of today’s assumption about Gen Y employees and see what we mean:

Millennials Are More Willing to Shed Their Pay

  • Myth: Millennials care less about pay than their older counterparts.
  • Snake Bite: You fail to retain a young employee who really did want a bigger annual raise.

Millennials Are Always Slithering Away to the Next job

  • Myth: Millennials are job-hoppers.
  • Snake Bite: You treat an employee like they’re always looking to leave – and that makes them feel unwanted.

Millennials Always Want to Return to Their Nest

  • Myth: Millennials value work-life balance more than previous generations.
  • Snake Bite: A young worker feels like their desire to pour everything into their job is underappreciated.

Instead of searching for #millennials on Twitter for the answers you need, take these steps and get to know your company’s future:

  • Ask about your employees’ families
  • Learn about their hobbies
  • Talk about their personal aspirations
  • Learn about their work ambitions

The Next Generation Isn’t Hard to Understand

It’s understandable the next generation may seem foreign – think back to when you were a kid and your parents wanted you to turn Elvis / The Beatles / Marky Mark / Nirvana off. But even if you can’t understand why hipsters wear your grandpa’s hat, there’s a timeless quality to the personal relationships HR has with a company’s workforce. Once you’ve figured that out, your total compensation statements can be as slick as a snake.

Read more about the tools HR can use to make the most of the connection with their workforce – and not just make the most of it, but supercharge it into a revenue-generating investment.