The Millennial generation contains individuals that were born anytime between 1982 and 2004. According to the Pew Research Center, there are nearly 76 million millennials within the United States, and they are continuing to conquer the workforce. Some seem to view this generation as an entitled, narcissistic, and difficult to manage within the workplace. With that being said, we’ve pulled some tips and tricks on how you can better manage these folks and foster positive working relationships.
BECOME THEIR MENTOR
Some millennials are often viewed as entitled, selfish and/or in need of instant gratification, but with the right set of guidance and motivation given to them within the workplace, success is easily within their (and YOUR) reach. They are a generation full of individuals who seek greatness and are ready to obtain it, but can often be unsure on how they should go about achieving their goals, which is why effective management is key. By providing them with the proper guidance and support, you can build solid mentoring relationships with millennial employees. Being a mentor means building a connection of mutual respect and trust with one another, and taking them “under your wing” to show them the real ropes of the business. Taking time out of your day to focus on these employees will show them that you want to invest in them and their future. If the mentor-ship is achieved correctly, it should overall motivate the millennial to want to work harder for you, which turns out to be a win-win for both sides
COLLABORATION IS KEY
In this prime time age of technology constantly within reach of our fingertips, it is no surprise that millennials are vast lovers of social collaboration. In a recent study of IBM millennial workers, more than half said they made better business decisions when there were groups of people providing a variety of output. So as collaboration between millennials increases within a company, efficiency and effectiveness is bound to follow. Another perspective is that a high level of collaboration provides millennials with a sense of community within your company, no matter how big or small your office may be. This community will in turn increase overall productivity and satisfaction within your office, which drives to the bottom of line of an overall effective culture.
PROVIDE FEEDBACK OFTEN
Consistent, honest feedback builds trust within your workplace, and delivering a continuous source of feedback provides a sturdy foundation for trust to be built upon. Millennials are always on the hunt to know how they can both better themselves as individuals and how they can reach their goals faster within their workplace. As said before, this generation seeks someone they can look up to and build relationships with in every aspect of their lives, so if you are able to provide them with honest and truthful feedback on what kind of job they are doing for you, it paves the path to a more personal relationship with them. The path can lead to an essentially high level of trust and respect for you as a manager.
Millennials value a good work-life balance. The traditional “9-to-5-mold” that exists within most workplaces doesn’t appeal to them nearly as much as the generations that have come before. Not saying that you have to completely have to change the environment of your office with ping-pong tables and beanbags, but more along the lines of changing the way you go about managing and facilitating relationships with your employees. This may include encouraging them to reinvent workplace routines that may already exist, or maybe incorporating a way within your work policies where employees can earn a work-from-home days, similar to how we are set up here for our Agile team members. All of these things in combination will give you a way to create a culture full of mutual respect and flexibility within your company, which will ultimately attract both potential employees to your company and benefit the ones that are already there.
DON’T CONFUSE CHARACTER WITH GENERATIONAL TRAITS
The millennial generation often receives a bad rap due to their stereotypes of entitlement and laziness, but as many generations that have come before them, that is not always the case for every individual. The harsh societal generalizations that come along with this age group often lead to predisposed judgments that ultimately have the potential to ruin future workplace relationships. So when a millennial steps foot into your office on their first day, try your best to fight the urge to allow their generation’s stereotypes to determine how you manage and treat them within the office.
So every time you step through the front door into your millennial-filled office, remind yourself that they are the future leaders within our society, and the way that you manage them now will reflect how they manage workers in future generations. Whether you are a baby boomer, gen-Xer, or even a millennial, keep these points in mind as you tackle the task of managing the millennials within your company.