As time goes on and generations phase in and out, the makeup of the workplace changes. And of all the changes, you might say that none have been as significant as when millennials came into the mix.
As of 2015, the millennial generation made up a majority of the U.S. workforce. Millennials are the most educated generation in history, and, because of this, they bring a very different perspective to the workplace.
Also, they are vastly different from previous generations with regards to how they work. For example, 60 percent of millennials will leave their employer in less than 3 years. This number is much higher when compared to Gen X and baby boomers. Also, about 40 percent of companies employ 50 or more millennial employees.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at effective managing styles for managing millennials at your workplace.
A great way to make use of millennial employees is to give them collaborative tasks. Whether it's with their team or other departments, millennials thrive working in groups. Why do millennials prefer groups? Well, one explaination comes from the fact that, for the most part, many millennials grew up playing organized sports.
To capitalize on this, you should create small "task forces" for projects. This will allow the team to champion a project while working together to achieve a goal. Also, millennials are great candidates for cross-functional teams because they were raised to work with people with different backgrounds and specialties. Using millennials on cross-functional tasks is a great way to take advantage of their strengths.
As the generations in the workplace change, so do the ideas of a typical workday. For millennials, many believe that a standard "9 to 5" day is a thing of the past. In fact, according to a 2013 millennial retention study, 45 percent would choose workplace flexibility over pay.
And with advances in technology, many people have the option to run their own business over the internet—as evidenced by the rise of freelancing positions and self-employment. Whether it’s writing blogs for a company or building websites, many of these jobs can be done from the comfort of home. Also, with many "on-demand" services, like Uber and Lyft, it is easier than ever to hold a few contract jobs to earn a wage.
Millennials have grown up in a culture of "immediacy." They are impatient and eager to move on to the next best thing. In a culture where there is so much going on at once, a monotonous work schedule can send many millennials packing. That is why it is important to give these employees opportunities for development.
Whether it’s projects that are a bit out of their comfort zone or experience level, these opportunities are important. Also, it is important to be honest and provide feedback when the task is complete. The feedback will help your millennial employees grow and further their development.
Another good management strategy is to act as a "mentor" rather than a "boss." Rather than just telling the employee what to do, tell them the impact their project will have. Give them room for failure when appropriate and build a collaborative relationship with your employee.
Like our previous example of being a mentor, it is also important to have clear objectives. This will help show your employees the value of their contributions. It is also important to have good metrics so the employee can see how they compare to other team members. In terms of a millennial, this will help them "level up," and stay motivated.
Additionally, you should inform employees about the specific goals and outcomes for the the projects they are working on. And don’t forget to inform them about any long-term company objectives as well. Understanding these goals helps any employee, but especially a millennial employee, identify areas of opportunity where they can align their goals with the company's.
Plus, since many millennials are very career oriented, they want to have a clear career path. When you provide this, your employee can set their sights on the next step and strive to make a positive impact.
Millennials are vastly different from their predecessors in many ways—from the way they were raised to their view on a work/life balance. But different isn’t a bad thing. Millennials bring a lot to the table in terms of job competency, technical knowledge and a passion for success. So makesure you are helping your company become a place where millennials can thrive.