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Five Must-Do Tips for Managing Millennials at Work

September 11, 2018

Let’s face it – it’s a millennial world, and we’re just living in it. Also known as Generation Y, these 20- to 30-somethings are projected to make up half of the global workforce by 2020. But how should a company go about managing millennials at work?

What makes managing millennials at work different from supervising previous generations? Let’s first take a deeper dive into exactly what a millennial is.

Wikipedia defines Millennials as:

The generational demographic cohort following Generation X… Although Millennial characteristics vary by region, depending on social and economic conditions, the generation is generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies. In most parts of the world, their upbringing was marked by an increase in a liberal approach to politics and economics; the effects of this environment are disputed.

The good news is that the Millennial generation offers several big benefits:

  • They are digital natives who grew up with technology-use ingrained as second nature.
  • They freely embrace new concepts and ideas.
  • They have the drive, skills and ideas to move organizations forward.

Despite these obvious pros, millennials have quickly gained a certain reputation in the business world. An article on The Balance Careers states:

Millennials are a difficult bunch, aren’t they? They seem to have their own ideas about how the corporate world works – and aren’t afraid to express them. The generational differences can sometimes make hiring difficult.

Whatever your opinion of millennials, their numbers continue to grow. It’s clear that they work differently than the generations that came before them, and therefore require different management techniques.

Here are five must-do tips for managing millennial employees at work:

1. Offer opportunity for growth and skill development

Millennials have an intense desire to grow in their role at work, and they see training and development opportunities as the road to get there. This generation thrives on controlling their own career destiny – so give them the opportunity to push themselves past their day-to-day duties, and expand their wheelhouses.

  • A recent study showed that 44% were ready to leave a job because they didn’t have the skill development opportunities they wanted.
  • Another survey stated that 42% said they took a new role because the company offered more opportunities to advance their career.

2. Create a culture of constant feedback and coaching

Millennials want to know where they stand and how they can improve. They want feedback – a lot of feedback. Provide them with clear, realistic strategies for improvement to get better results from these vision-forward employees. Make sure to focus on building and measuring effectiveness, as millennials are data-driven, metric lovers.

3. Provide a consistent work-life balance

Show your millennials that you work hard, but play hard too. While it’s important to get the job done, millennials prefer progressive companies that actively value life spent outside the office as much as life spent inside it.

4. Be flexible with working environments

Millennials not only believe, but expect that work can get done from anywhere. Remember, this generation has grown up on social media and tech apps. Providing some options for remote work and flextime is necessary.

5. Show them they can make a difference

One of the biggest aspirations of the millennial generation is their desire to change the world. Your job is to get these employees connected to your company’s mission/vision and prove that you can help them achieve their world-altering ambitions.

It is clear that our management styles – and frankly, the way we conduct our businesses – will continue to evolve as this generation and the ones to follow enter the workforce. But, as we adapt to these new practices, we are sure to see amazing results from retaining millennial talent.

Want to learn more about millennials? Read our blog, Managing Generation Y.

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