Quit saying Millennials are lazy

They're curious, outspoken, and driven

Often characterized as lazy and lacking ambition, Millennials have actually made great strides in the workforce, Caren Maio writes for Time's "Motto."

By her mid-20's, Maio was the CEO of her first company. According to Maio, she and every Millennial employee on the staff at Nestio don't fit the negative stereotypes that tend to define their age group. Rather, Maio says, the Millennials on her team are hardworking, curious, and highly motivated. These are a few reasons why Millennials make such great workers:

1. They're demanding—in a good way

Millennials are often dismissed as entitled when, in reality, they simply have the confidence to demand the most out of life. Maio points to Nestio's current operations manager, who first came to the company as an intern. Then he graduated and created a job that didn't exist at the company at the time, allowing him to pursue his goal of working in both products and operations.

"There's nothing wrong with punching above your weight and fast-tracking your own success, as long as you have the right attitude and can walk the talk," Maio says.

2. They're upfront

Millennial employees want their voices heard and strive to make a difference in their organizations. While that may turn off some employers, Maio views such outspokenness as a major boon to the workplace. One engineer at Nestio complained to Maio that he felt alienated at the company. She learned that this employee was not the only one who felt that way. To create more unity, Nestio began holding social mixers, office hours with Maio and her co-founder, and monthly team dinners.

"I already see cross-departmental collaboration that just wasn't there before, and this is all thanks to someone who called it like he saw it," Maio says.

3. They appreciate work-life balance

Work-life balance is a top priority for Millennials, but that doesn't mean they'd rather be slacking off. Companies are increasingly offering perks such as unlimited sick days and vacation to woo Millennial employees, focusing more on what people actually get done as opposed to how long they work. 

Nestio offers a $1,000 annual stipend for employees to explore interests outside of work, allowing people to pursue personal training, reflexology, and French classes. And happier, more engaged employees, create a better work environment overall.

"Being encouraged to pursue hobbies, I find, makes for a happier team that brings that sense of fulfillment and purpose into the workplace" (Maio, "Motto," Time, 7/26).

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