10 Tips for Managing Millennials
The current workforce is globally diverse and managers are challenged with how to create a motivating environment that drives productivity for every employee. There are five generations and diverse cultural backgrounds in the today’s workforce and every employee brings a unique perspective. Millennials, who were born between 1981-2000, make up the largest percentage of today’s workforce. Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1964, used to be the largest generation in the workforce but many of them have retired. Many Baby Boomers worked for one organization during their lifetime and worked their way up the corporate ladder by putting in time and learning the ropes. Baby Boomers respect the hierarchy in an organization.
Unfortunately, there has been a disconnect in the workplace between some Baby Boomers who are frustrated with managing Millennials. Some Baby Boomers are close minded and believe that their way of doing something is the only way or the best way. Baby Boomers have tons of workplace experience, they have seen a lot and done a lot. They have wisdom. Millennials are much more tech savvy and want to jump in and learn new methods. If there is something a Millennial doesn’t know, they find out immediately by using Google or You Tube. Millennials are also comfortable with approaching a subject matter expert to find out an answer to a question. Each generation brings value to the workplace and we have to learn to embrace differences moving forward.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when managing Millennials.
1. Create a motivating work environment. People are motivated for their reasons not for your reasons. Take the time to get to know your employees and find out what motivates them. If Millennials are not motived, they will leave and look for another job.
2. Provide training, development and growth opportunities. Millennials want to know about future opportunities and what they need to do and/or learn to move forward in their career. Providing training programs, coaching and mentoring is key to improving retention of employees. Offering tuition reimbursement is also a fabulous benefit, some Millennials are strapped with huge student debt.
3. Communicate often and in a variety of ways. Millennials, like every other generation, want to know what is going on. There are a variety of ways to send messages to employees; in person, email, social media, text messages. Effective, timely communication is key to creating understanding.
4. Embrace change. The one thing we can say about change is that it is inevitable and constant. Millennials have new, innovative, and different ideas about the workplace. Listen to their ideas and suggestions. If they are reasonable, accept the new ideas and make changes.
5. Give credit when credit is due. Recognize accomplishments in a timely manner. Millennials were raised during a time when every participant received a trophy or medal, they want to be appreciated for doing a good job.
6. Provide current technology. Millennials are tech savvy, way ahead of Baby Boomers when it comes to learning and using technology to improve business results. Providing cutting edge equipment is an employee benefit and will help increase retention.
7. Hold employees accountable. Every employee should know exactly what is expected of them in the workplace. It’s not fair to give negative feedback to an employee for not performing their job if they don’t understand exactly what is expected.
8. Share best practices. Teach your younger employees about business etiquette and appropriate behavior in the workplace. What seems like common sense to you, might not be common sense to another person. For example, raising your voice and yelling at a co-worker is never acceptable.
9. Embrace flexible work arrangements. Baby Boomers have older children, might be grandparents and could be financially comfortable. Millennials have young families, might be married or living with a partner, and are financially starting out. COVID has turned the world upside down and some young parents are struggling with paying attention to remote learning for their young children while balancing their career. Offering flexibility is key to maximizing productivity.
10. Discover commonalities. Instead of focusing on how the younger generation is different than your generation, find out what you have in common which will help build a better relationship. Perhaps you are both big baseball fans of the NY Yankees or you attended the same college or you both like to run marathons or you both adore Italian food. Getting to know your employees takes time and effort and is absolutely worthwhile.
If you have other suggestions for managing today's workforce, let me know. I would love to hear what is working!