6 Tips for Managing Millennials
The Millennial generation, those born between 1981 and 2000, is the newest addition to today’s workforce.
Bright, energetic, and optimistic, these young people can be a tremendous asset to your business. However, managing Millennials can sometimes be tricky, since they have very different expectations than Baby Boomers or Gen-Xers. Millennials were raised with extreme concern for their self-esteem, and were constantly told that they are special. As a result, the Millennial generation is confident and ready to take on the world.
This attitude can do great things for your business, but it can also result in conflict and tension if you don’t know how to handle it.
Follow these tips for managing Millennials to get the most out of your young employees:
Listen. Millennials are used to having their voice heard. They have been told that their ideas and opinions matter, and this has been reenforced by the open-idea format of the internet (blogging, tweeting, social networking). Take the time to hear them out, and encourage them to be vocal about their ideas. Setting up a designated time for them to give feedback on their work will make them feel valued, and studies show that when Millennials feel valued, they will work harder and be more loyal.
Challenge them and give them multiple tasks. Because of their confidence, Millennials are eager for challenges. Don’t bore or ignore them. Multi-tasking is something that Millennials do on a daily basis (most college students write papers while chatting on Facebook, Tweeting, texting, and listening to music). Take advantage of their multi-tasking abilities, but don’t overload them with requests.
Use their technological literacy and networking skills. While most of us think of technology as a tool that we have to learn how to use, technology is a way of life for Millennials. They grew up playing with computers, digital cameras, smart phones, and DVD players, and as a result are used to incorporating technology into whatever they are doing. Allowing them to utilize technology in the workplace will make them feel comfortable and allow them to be more productive. The Millennial generation is also the most socially connected generation, and can easily connect your business to people through social networking.
Create a fun workspace and allow a life-work balance. Two of the most important factors in job satisfaction for Millennials are a flexible work schedule and a fun, employee-centered workplace. They lead busy lifestyles and prefer a work schedule that can adjust to their changing availability. Try to accommodate their requests for schedule changes. Millennials also prefer a more casual work environment and like to work in visually interesting workspaces.
Provide feedback. Millennials crave feedback. They need to know exactly what you want, so when giving feedback and instructions be direct and clear. But not all feedback needs to be constructive — just recognizing their work will make them feel valued.
Provide leadership and guidance. Although Millennials are motivated and confident, they are used to structure and directions, so don’t expect them to immediately have a high level of initiative. Be a strong leader and provide lots of guidance, and they will respect you for it. Be as specific as possible when guiding them — let them know exactly what to do. Millennials are very good at following specific instructions, and will excel at their jobs if given guidance.