Are you ready for Millennials in the Workplace?
Did you know that Gen Y-ers, aka Millennials, are the largest generation in the U.S. making up one-third of the total population in 2013? We are the most diverse and educated generation to date, according to The Council of Economic Advisers.
Invading your offices and job openings with eager to please attitudes, it is important that you, as a prospective employer, know what to expect in order to make the transition as painless as possible and in order for you to maximize and leverage our unique strengths to increase your success.
Covered by Blanket Statements
Born in 1990, I’m smack dab in the middle of the Millennial generation. I’m very familiar with the many stereotypes of Millennials in the workplace; I even understand where most of them could come from.
Many of us were hailed from doting parents and were charted around to music lessons, soccer games, and ballet recitals. We all received participation trophies and were taught to pat ourselves on the back for small achievements.
Every new generation introduced to the workforce is considered the next weak link.
For example, Baby Boomers were once considered the selfish and spoiled “Me Generation.”
You’ve heard it before — Millennials are lazy, entitled, and over dependent on technology. Baby-Boomers can’t use the internet, are work obsessed, and overly competitive. We know these claims are usually large exaggerations.
Blanket statements like these are unhelpful and get in the way of tapping the valuable strengths of a generation.
Just like Gen X and Baby Boomers, Millennials have a lot of unique strengths and, if managed correctly, can give you a competitive advantage.
Employers Can Leverage Millennials in the Workplace
- Technologically advanced, our electronic capabilities are amazing.
- Mega-multitaskers, for many of us, it’s a way of life.
- Eager to learn, we’re always looking for opportunities to grow.
- Creative, we’re team oriented and allowing collaboration will encourage creativity to shine through.
- Confident, we tend to put ourselves forward and volunteer for new tasks and projects more often than other generations.
Like any generation we hold our own values based on the phase we grew up in. Millennials work to live and seek purpose and value in our work even if it means taking less in pay.
As an employer, this concept may seem foreign to you and your more experienced employees, so it’s important for the future of your business that you can adapt to a new breed of worker.
Human Resource Executive wrote, “According to Aon Hewitt’s 2014 Trends in Global Employee Engagement annual study, Millennials are the least-engaged generation in the workforce, with engagement levels of 56 percent. This compares to 66 percent for Baby Boomers and 60 percent for Generation X.”
Ignored, this would be a problem for your business, but employers who actively seek solutions for better ways to engage Millennials in the workplace will be in a better position to retain and profit from Millennials. After all, you are developing the workforce of your future.
It won’t be easy, but It will be worth it. Here are my top three tips to managing millennials.
Structure: We can find a less-structured atmosphere in the workplace unsettling. Set up expectations from day one and give a clear definition of what “success” looks like. Create weekly, monthly, and yearly goals to encourage focus and drive.
Feedback: “Praise” is a common theme surrounding millennial stereotypes when in fact it’s not false praise we want, consistent and honest feedback is all. Once expectations are in place, provide regular feedback to maintain motivation. Take advantage of this as a teaching or mentoring opportunity. We might surprise you and turn a weakness into a strength by learning more quickly than past employees.
Leadership: Be the leader your employee’s want to look up to. Provide guidance and show transparency in connecting daily work to the bigger picture in your company. Millennials seek mentors and feel more engaged when their employer has invested time into their success.
Dow Chemical’s Frank Burroughs (the company’s global talent management director) said he’s “not really excited about broadly categorizing groups,” regarding millennials from other generations he also mentioned, “They are aggressive seekers of feedback — they thrive on it and are not at all afraid of feedback that is disappointing. They tend to say, ‘Please be as honest and as blunt as you can; that’s the only way I’ll get better.’ “
Are you adjusting to new employees in your workforce? I would love to hear about your experience managing Millennials and/or anything that’s helped you along the way. Comment below or subscribe to our newsletter for more advice and useful tips.
For some out of the box ideas on managing Millennials check out this great infographic; Work Habits of The New Millennium.
Learn more about how to show employees you care through Employers Resource. These tips will apply to your employees of any age.