As the millennial generation has begun to finish college and enter the workplace, they have gotten a reputation for behaving a little differently than their peers from Generations X and Y, which creates the question of managing millenials in the workplace. While some have called them entitled and lazy, others have touted them as more creative and flexible than their predecessors. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, if you manage employees, chances are you are beginning to oversee at least a few of these new millennial staff. In order to ensure that you get the most out of this unique new generation of workers, here are two strategies to consider.
Be Flexible and Meet Millennials Halfway
While some have called millennials workers lazy, it may be that they just don’t understand how this new generation works. The traditional workplace tends to be quite structured, with 8-hour work days, 1-hour lunch breaks in physical offices. Millennials, however, have a different mentality. With the rise of the startup culture, young people have learned to be more flexible with work. This means working from anywhere at anytime. This flexibility has meant that millennials often don’t value the structure of a traditional workplace as much as their elders do. In order to harness the talent and energy of your millennial staff consider bending the rules a little bit to allow for flexible work and vacation time. This does not mean getting rid of the 40-hour work week, but instead allowing those 40 hours to occur outside of the traditional work hours at times.
Invest in Millennials
Despite having been labeled as irreverent, millennials are actually very interested in learning from their elders. These new workers want to be mentored and given feedback on their performance. Unlike previous generations, however, millennials are more likely to probe. They are interested in the big picture and understanding why certain decisions are made. Because they are creative problem solvers, they are often interested in tackling things in a different way than has been done in the past. Rather than being offended or taken aback, take the time to explain to these young staff why certain decisions are being made or why a particular strategy is being followed. This investment in time and explanation will go very far in the development of these workers. Beyond investing your own time in the development of these employees, consider having some bright young employees go through leadership training, such as those offered by key Group consulting, as well. Because millennials are eager to learn they will appreciate this investment in their professional growth and in turn work hard to achieve the company’s desired outcomes.