Every twenty years a new generation enters the workforce.
The Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000, and are characterized as tech savvy, multitaskers who are intellectually curious, confident, and socially conscious. However, Millennials are also viewed as lazy, entitled, selfish, and shallow. Millennials are providing unique challenges to today’s managers. Listed below are a few tips for successfully working with the Millennials generation.
- Management. A top-down leadership style is not effective in retaining younger workers. Millennials no longer expect their managers to be content experts, rather they want their managers to forego the “boss mentality,” seeking a coaching and mentoring style instead. Their ideal boss is flexible, empowering, and inclusive.
- Communications. Internal communications need to be transparent. Millennials expect open and frequent communications about matters normally reserved for those more senior in the organization.
- Decision Making. Involve Millennials in decision-making. Millennials were accustomed to participating in family decisions; therefore, they expect to have a direct say in how work is to be done.
- Technology. Millennials are “digital natives” having been raised with technology. They expect to leverage advances in technology to support remote working. Millennials view telecommuting as an environmentally friendly approach to work.
- Feedback. Millennials use of technology influences their need for frequent feedback and instant gratification. They expect feedback to be positive and affirming, and are not accustomed to hearing neutral or negative comments. Finally, they won’t be willing to wait for feedback on their performance until an annual performance review.
- Career Advancement. Millennials are easily bored and are obsessed with career advancement, and expect promotions to be based on skills, not seniority. They are known to be job-hoppers and will change jobs if career advancement is not immediately apparent. They seek challenging work to develop new skills and if Millennials don’t see a clear career path with specific timelines, they will create their own opportunities.
The latest generation to enter the workplace is creating both challenges and opportunities for organizations as they learn to adapt to a new way of working. As “digital natives,” Millennials are inspiring managers to learn how to lead as coaches and mentors. Millennials want to feel valued, engaged in interesting work, expect frequent affirming feedback, and have opportunities to grow. Aren’t these expectations the same from all employees, regardless of their generation?
Perhaps now that the Millennials are here, the work environment will improve for everyone.
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