The millennial generation has been much maligned in the business world. Whether they are being blamed for neglecting long-standing industries or being labeled as selfish and distracted, there aren’t too many superlatives that have been bandied about when describing millennial workers. The reality, however, is that millennial workers have the ability to be some of your best employees if your business is able to adjust accordingly. Today, we’ll get into how to get the most from your younger workers.
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are quickly becoming the majority of the workforce, and much has been said and written about what differentiates them from the other workers your business has on staff. Chances are your millennial workers are some of the most educated people on your staff, and this fact has come to define the entire generation largely because most of them are in mounds of debt as a result. The degrees that they paid tens of thousands of dollars, and years of their lives, to achieve, typically, will only net them entry-level status. This can be a problem for a business, as millennial workers are well-known to want a challenging environment where fast vertical movement is possible. This leads them to get despondent and continuously look for new work elsewhere, or worse yet, becoming disconnected with their current job and wasting everyone’s time and money.
Millennials Will Be Millennials
There has been so much written about the negative characteristics of millennials, but they can’t all be bad, can they? Of course not, but there are behaviors that are, by in large, a problem for some employers. Let's take a short look at some of them now:
- Always connected - You’d think that this isn’t a major problem for any business nowadays as the more connected people are, the more they will be apt to do, right? The answer is someplace between “Not exactly” and “Yeah, but”. The average millennial worker is so plugged in to the news, social media, and/or some type of Internet-based hobby, that focusing on work becomes a bit of a chore.
- Entitlement - As we mentioned above, sometimes the millennial worker will get frustrated at a lack of promotion, even if the promotion isn’t necessarily possible. As a result, the millennial, who is confident in what they bring to business, can sometimes feel as though they should have a corner office out of college.
- Quick to jump ship - If they are inevitably passed over for a promotion, they take it more to heart than other workers and begin to look for new opportunities (if they ever stopped looking). Millennials are an ambitious lot and will leave your employ for a better opportunity at the drop of a hat.
- Balancing act - Like many people, most millennials need to be fulfilled with their work, but they also need to have the ability to break away and unwind. They take this very seriously. For the millennial worker a solid work-life balance is one of the most important aspects of taking (and retaining) a job.
- Tech - The millennials are the first human generation to grow up with lifelong Internet access, cell/smartphone access, and heavy automation. As a result, they take for granted that they will have access to technology that will help them climb up the corporate ladder. Not having access to this technology can be a complete deal-breaker.
For the business owner, finding people that are both dedicated to their vision while also not being a major problem is important. Adding corrosive, arrogant, and inexperienced people that are going to cause problems for them is not ever going to be an ideal fit. All millennials aren’t all the worst behaviors of their generation, however, and most can be beneficial and productive members of your team. Here are some management tips to get the most out of your business’ millennial employees:
- Create and maintain a strong company culture - Since most millennials want their work to have a purpose, building a strong culture works to see that their hard work and dedication is resulting in something positive.
- Promote flexibility - Along with a solid work-life balance, organizations that promote remote connectivity, support integration, and other technologically forward strategies, get more out of their staff.
- Leadership and Guidance - Instead of barking orders, actually lead. Be a mentor, not a boss. Millennials don’t like being micromanaged and barking orders at them and making them feel like their efforts don’t matter is a major problem.
- Get them the technology they need - If you don’t provide millennial workers with the tools they need, they’ll find someone that will.
- Have a vision they can get behind - Millennials are hard workers and will help the right leader build something great as long as they lay out a place, and a career path for them from the beginning. For the millennial, transparency goes a long way.
Millennials will, soon enough, make up a very large portion of the workforce. As a result, getting to better understand how the future will look with tech-savvy people in charge is essential for any business.
What are your thoughts of the millennial workers you’ve encountered? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.