Research suggests that in 10 years or so, around 75% of our country’s workforce will comprise of millennials. If you are unsure about who the millennials exactly are – take a look around your workplace; the younger-looking workers are most probably the millennials. Millennials are termed as the current generation of young adults born around 1982 and 2002.
So, why do millennials need to be managed? Aren’t the younger folks considered really tech-savvy, more outgoing and smarter than the boomer generation (the older and more experienced employees in the workplace)? Not exactly, the issue is that the boomer generation had to work really hard to get where they are, but the millennials already have access to many things boomers worked their lifetimes to earn. So, this shows that millennials are motivated by different aspirations. Sometimes, managing them can become tricky since they are new to the workplace and their ideologies might differ from yours.
The pressing issue is that very soon, these millennials will be completely replacing the boomer generation when they retire. Time for your workplace to make some amends.
The Need for Managing Millennials
This is where the problem is, millennials cannot be ‘managed’; they need to be motivated. Trying to manage millennials (the largest age group in your workforce) is really difficult. Their attitudes and lifestyles are very different in comparison to people born in the last century.
Managers need to accept this fact that millennials differ from boomers and millennials seldom like to work cooped-up inside cubicles and work the regular 9-to-5 work hours. Micro-managing is a strict no for such individuals. Since they have a broader perspective about work culture and easier access to jobs (owing to their age factor) motivating them takes a different kind of effort.
How Do Millennials Act?
Millennials demand freedom. Freedom means space. Since millennials are more tech-savvy, they tend to be more innovative and collaborative. However, millennials or Gen Y’s rants are in stark contrast with boomers, this is why we will help you overcome the following challenges that Gen Y employees tend to exhibit and how to lead them with efficiency:
- Impatience: They tend to have a short attention span since they have open access to social media and other worldly distractions. Old computer systems are their bane and upgrading your processes and systems is one way to keep them more productive and happy at work.
- They tend to snap quickly: Call it being young or lesser experienced, Gen Y can become challenging to work with if you tend to boss them around too much or give them more than they can handle.
- They want worthwhile feedback: Unlike boomers who are more private, millennials seek feedback, as soon as they complete or achieve something. With 360 degree feedback mechanisms, you can form a regular habit of giving valuable feedback that will help them apply themselves better.
- Office space: Millennials do not like enclosed spaces. Take the example of the Google office, their workspaces are more like playgrounds; vast and open spaces where people aren’t separated by walls or partitions. Embracing openness helps workers to learn the company culture faster.
- Getting personal: They like to share personal experiences, even about their family life. They do not like managers who tend to ignore their personal approach and shun their career expectations or inclinations.
- Different motivations: Millennials are driven by the sense of progress. Moreover, they like grasping opportunities to display their creativity and do something faster.
- Averse to hierarchy: They like working together in teams, which sometimes in traditional corporate hierarchies becomes a little restrictive. Since they are part of a ‘fast-paced’ information age, if their ideas aren’t being appreciated, they might even quit your workplace.
- Demand flexibility: Rather than punching-in more hours at work, they like to work at their own pace, and also do not like constant micro-management by their superiors.
How to Manage (lead) Millennials?
From the above points, you can see that Millennials pose very few issues; rather, they help managers focus more on their jobs than focusing on how to manage the entire workforce. Apart from some issues like being averse to bosses, millennials work mostly towards positive growth.
This is why we stress on the fact that since they are different, you need to inspire them with leadership and not management. We believe, that with these following points, you can motivate and lead your millennials better:
- Be a role model: Change your management style, many millennials tend to hate constructive feedback when they are currently involved in something. However, the same feedback given later helps them to focus on personal development and alter their career goals. Become a motivator and a coach for them.
- Be approachable and act more like a confidant rather than a boss: Give them space to reflect their problems. Rather than behaving bossy, consider their problems as ways to reducing employee turnover and boosting employee retention.
- Give better feedback: Give regular and more open feedback to employees after they complete something. Take their feedback on your work style too. Use 360-degree feedback techniques and rather than expressing everything in facts and figures, add a personal touch to the feedback mechanism in the form of R & R programs and other exclusive performance-based perks.
- Give them more power: Encourage them to accept more demanding positions in the workplace and leverage their social connections to boost your business visibility in the outside world.
- Alter your workplace environment and company culture: Open up the workspace and embrace team-spirit. Work with more openness and involve everyone in a project.
- Skill development programs: Help Gen Y employees to master skills that their jobs require them to possess. These skills will help them transition to high-potential jobs and positions in the future. Pay their fees and sign them up for courses to let them know that you are supportive.
- Mentorship programs: Growth is the ultimate incentive for millennials. Help them recognize areas of improvement with such programs that help them learn from the boomer generation and the other managers as well.
- Be liberal like them: Forcing authority on them is a big no. Keep them engaged with newer opportunities and take cues from them about the mindsets of the current generation of social-savvy consumers.
Millennials are smart – accept it. They focus more on short-term growth rather than brooding over long-term goals. In the process, they feel entitled towards some privileges and it is not a bad thing. They may seem challenging to work with for some managers, but you cannot avoid working with them at all.
Giving them ample opportunities to flex their legs in the workplace not only helps them become a part of your business, but also reduces the risk of losing such talented employees to your competitors.