Whether we like it or not, our new employment pool is mostly Millennials and so if we are going to be able to manage them effectively and leverage the skills they bring to the workplace, we need to understand their needs, concerns, and advantages.
“Technically, a Millennial is someone born between 1980 and 2000.”
Certain characteristics seem to define a Millennial: openness, expressiveness, confidence, and liberal thinking. There is also another point of view about this generation: they are narcissistic, entitled, lazy, coddled, and even a bit delusional. In addition, by and large, their expectations are rather unrealistic and so often get discouraged when things do not turn out as they expected or hoped. This generally has to do with how they have been raised….everything they have done they believe is terrific and they have been told over and over that they can do whatever they wish. This repetition of reward and compliments has also become their expectation and organizations that do not recognize this and manage it effectively will experience turn over from this group.
All of this makes them a bit challenging to manage, however they do have gifts that can be leveraged and so if you want to experience the advantages of those gifts and approaches, you must find the means to handle them appropriately so that you can keep them happy, productive, and creatively contributing to your organization.
Here are some tips to consider when dealing with this generation of individuals.
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You need to be the leader. This generation has grown up with structure and supervision, with parents who were their role models. Millennials desire leaders with honesty and integrity, because they expect a good role model. This means that you must be able to communicate with clarity, honesty, impact and influence as well as “walk the walk” not just “talk the talk.”
Challenge me. Millennials want learning opportunities. They want to be assigned to projects that challenge them in new directions so the work will help them to learn new strategies, skills, and approaches. They are looking for growth, development, and a clear career path. The best way to approach this need is to offer supportive and encouraging coaching in areas where you see potential. In addition, either in-house or outside training would certainly be welcomed. Be sure to reward results and comment on progress as this is very important to Millennials.
Let me work on a team with friends. Millennials want to work with people they can relate to. They like being friends with their co-workers. Employers who provide social aspects of work will find their efforts well rewarded by this newest cohort. Some companies are even interviewing and hiring groups of friends to satisfy this desire. They also really enjoy working in teams. They want to be involved and ultimately share their experiences as widely as possible. Organizations that value teamwork and seek to instill a spirit of advocacy for their brands, can definitely learn from their Millennials in this area.
Let’s have fun. Millennials enjoy a little humor, a bit of silliness, even a little irreverence in their work environment. So if you can allow and provide for this, it will make your organization more attractive to them. In any event, a fun workplace can be inviting to more than just the Millennials, happy employees are more efficient and creative and sick less often, too.
Respect me. Millennials want to have their ideas treated respectfully. Even though they may be young and new, their perspective should be listened to and considered when offered. Who knows, they could provide some insightful and innovative contributions that you might not want to miss.
Be flexible. Millennials are loathe to give up their various activities just because of work responsibilities. Therefore, a rigid schedule is a sure-fire way to lose them. Better, if possible, to offer them the opportunity to work remotely, or a come in early/stay later option , as long as they fulfill their obligations and their time lines, you should not be concerned about when or how they actually accomplish their tasks.
Culture is critical. Millennials are collaborative and relationship heavy, so the workplace culture plays a large role in their decision to accept a position. Millennials are notorious for leaving a company because of a lack of cultural fit. So, when managing Millennials, you can prevent this turnover by communicating with clarity, and building trusting relationships with them. You can try to do this by identifying a common interest in such areas as sports teams, hometown, university, hobbies, food, or pets.
They are restless: Millennials want to see growth and immediate results. This impatience pushes them to achieve more by working smarter, not necessarily harder. They are doers and like to get things done. Don’t expect them to stay too long if you aren’t fulfilling promises. They want to be shown that they matter, and that what they are doing counts. They want to be part of the bigger picture. This knowledge will motivate them to work harder.
Embrace Innovation. Millennials are equipped with fresh, current capabilities and are driven to innovate and make an impact. In order to leverage this strength, you want to develop a strategy for managing Millennials around these tips, so that you can ensure their engagement and creativity is encouraged and then you will reap the benefits of their expertise and unique perspective.[/message][su_spacer]
At first blush it might seem like a lot of hard work to hire and keep Millennials, however in the end, they are likely worth the investment. In their rush to achieve personal greatness, they can prove to be a good choice for any company. The best part about them is that they are dreamers and creators, and they truly believe that nothing is impossible!