What is the “snowflake” generation and why is it accused of being conflictive?

What is the “snowflake” generation and why is it accused of being conflictive?


If you create half of what you read on the Internet, you will conclude that the generation of millennials (people born between 1980 and 1999) have both cultivated both a fondness for eating avocado and a resounding refusal to learn to spell.

But the truth is that by the year 2020, half of the workforce will be composed of this generation that many mock.

The so-called “snowflake” test went viral for its supposedly sensible approach to dealing with ” quej bears ” workers .

The test, consisting of 30 points, determines that applicants to a job should be questioned about their attitude to harassment, sick leave, criticism, or even their preferences for one or the other coffee.

But it seems more a list of personal complaints than a test of useful aptitude about the future employee.

Work meeting with young people
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Image caption By 2020, half of the workforce will be composed of the generation of “millenials”.

In the test is implicit assumption that organizations are forced to indulge every whim of the ” millennials  . But there is little evidence to support this idea.

Without consent

In fact, the consulting firm PwC found in its study “The ‘millennials’ at work” that this generation really appreciates honest assessments about their work, opportunities for progress, flexible work and access to good technology to boost productivity .

So, from my point of view, organizations should adapt to the generation of millennials, but not consent.

The technological giant Apple, one of the best in attracting talent “millennial” according to the study, does not.

His culture is mature, but friendly. The PwC study concluded that Apple attracts and retains “millennials” more than most because they are avant-garde and “naturally innovative.”

Yes, companies that fail to adapt to their preferences will lose talent.

Younger workers do not feel an obligation of loyalty to a company that does not meet their needs. PwC discovered that more than half expect to have more than six bosses in their lives.

But since older millennials are now reaching senior managerial positions, I believe they can and should play a role in ensuring that their own organization does not offend and lose young talent.

If they do not, they will end up complaining about the newcomers as each generation does.

A young man works in front of the computer
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Image caption “Millennials” who are coming to responsible jobs can and should play a role in ensuring that their own organization does not lose young talent.

If the “snowflake” test was intended to highlight the “problem with the ‘millennials'”, it certainly did not meet its objective.

If a recruiter really wanted to discourage so-called “snowflakes” from running for a job, you might need to ask just one question.

“Do you suffer from any anxiety related to the workplace?”

Anxiety and anguish

It is never good to label a whole demographic group by its extremes.

When we criticize this generation, we are actually attacking new sources of anxiety in the workplace with which we have not yet learned to empathize.

If we honestly assess the causes behind some of the concerns of the most criticized “millenials”, we might discover that there is nothing more than a mixture of fairly common professional anxieties in addition to some more unusual social whims (most of which are the result of rapid technological advances and social change.)

Group of millennials take a selfie.
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Image caption Some of the social whims of millennials are the result of rapid technological advances and social change.

It is only when you attribute these anxieties to the “snowflakes” that they seem ready to be ridiculed.

For example, answering the phone can cause anxiety to anyone, but this normal office routine seems to cause anxiety to a disproportionately high number of millennials.


Because “millennials” dominate other forms of communication technology, often for the benefit of their employer, and simply are not accustomed to unplanned phone calls.

Many associate unexpected phone calls with receiving bad news.

Group of millennials looking at their cell phones.
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Image caption Most “millennials” spend the day stuck to their cell phone, but suffer anxiety when they have to answer phone calls unplanned at work.

Millennial anxiety is not the only reason why fewer commercial telephone calls are made.

Task management applications such as Trello and Slack have made internal and external communication more intuitive and secure, reducing the need to make calls on a regular basis.

Why call someone about a project when you can safely share detailed comments in real time?

But for bosses who insist on making a call, the solution is simple. Send an email in advance to organize the call and give the other person time to prepare. Or better yet, talk face to face.


It is not just custom and culture that causes anguish. The physical work environment also has a great impact on the anxiety of this generation.

Group of millennials working on their laptops at close range.
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Image caption Offices with overcrowded staff and little space can cause panic attacks on millennials.

The age group between 18 and 24 years old is more likely to suffer frequent panic attacks, according to a study of 3,000 adults in the United Kingdom.

35% say that these attacks were caused by offices full of employees.

Another simple solution: reorganize your office to create more space. Or, if that is not possible, consider implementing work shifts that rotate.

About 80% of “millennials” said they feel less anxious when the desk next to theirs is empty.

Relaxed dress codes are another step as expected as simple. About 17% of the young people of this generation considered resigning their work due to the anxiety of following a strict dress policy.

Why take that risk by maintaining obsolete style standards?

A young man in a suit looks at his cell phone.
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Image caption A 17% of the “millenials” considered resigning their work due to the anxiety of following a strict policy when dressing.

Even getting to the workplace can be difficult for this generation.

Public transport is a major cause of anxiety and 60% of workers say they would prefer a trip longer than one in which they have to make many changes in transport, in order to reduce the overall stress of going to work.

The agglomerations are the big cause of fear among travelers. But 41% of the “millennials” of the United Kingdom even suffer anxiety to be photographed in public.

Of all the anxiety-causing factors examined here, this should be the most specific of your generation. But it’s still valid.

We must remember that, in the not too distant future, it will be they who will shape the culture of the workplace.

A young couple looks at their cell phone in the subway.
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Image caption The public transport necessary to go to your workplace is cause for anxiety for many “millennials”.

And if that means that people face fewer sources of anxiety at work and can be more productive, that’s good for all of us.

Being derogatory, simply, does not take us anywhere. It’s not nice and it shows nothing.

Organizations should strive to address as many of these problems as possible. Mainly because, often, there are simple solutions like reorganizing the offices.

And even if there is no solution, these anxieties deserve to be addressed. In most cases, we are facing natural responses to an environment that previous generations were fortunate to avoid.

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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