If you’re a manager today, it’s likely your team includes baby boomers, gen X and millennials all working side-by-side. With clear differences in their characteristics and motivations, getting the most from your generationally diverse team is certainly a challenge!
By 2025, millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) will make up around 75% of the global workforce. In general, their attitudes surrounding work are very different to the generations before. They thrive on change, regular feedback and flexible working conditions. They also value work-life balance and a healthy company culture - and they’re not afraid to change jobs if they feel their needs are not being met.
So how do you create an environment that encourages loyalty and allows them to perform at their best?
In this article we’ll discuss strategies and tips to help you adapt your leadership style and company policies to effectively manage millennials.
Growing up in an age of instant gratification means millennials tend to prefer short-term goals with measurable results. They’ll grow impatient and lose motivation fast if they feel their efforts are not being recognised, so regular feedback is also a must.
Setting clear expectations for success in shorter bursts is a good approach. This helps them measure their progress in real time and clearly see the contribution they’re making.
Ongoing Learning and Development
Millennials thrive on change, so keep them interested by offering diversity in their role and plenty of room for growth and development. Provide opportunities to expand their skills through additional training and working with other departments.
Flexible Work Conditions
For millennials, work-life balance and flexible working arrangements are a must. While previous generations accepted being confined to the office for eight-plus hours a day as a given, millennials don’t necessarily see that as the best way to work. Offering flexibility with start and finish times, RDOs and working remotely can go along way in helping you attract and retain millennials.
Provide Plenty of Feedback
When it comes to feedback and one-on-one coaching, the traditional yearly review alone will not cut it. Most millennials crave recognition from others and providing frequent and timely feedback keeps them happy and their motivation levels high. How you deliver the feedback is also important – often informal chats are preferred over scheduled meetings.
Understand Their Motivations
While money is always a factor, it’s generally not the primary motivation for this generation. They’re looking for a dynamic, flexible role, working with great people in an organisation that has ethics and values. They’re ambitious, but often prefer a career path that offers diversity and the opportunity to develop their skill set in new and interesting ways over a direct route to a senior role.
A Positive Company Culture
Millennials are at their best when they have a clear sense of purpose and feel that what they are doing has an impact. Organisations with a strong and positive company culture allows them to see that what they do every day has a meaning beyond money. This is especially true when the culture and attitudes of the company are in line with their own values.
Be a Mentor, Not Just a Boss
As mentioned, traditional management styles are not the most effective way to lead millennials. They respond far better to approachable leaders who offer encouragement rather than those who flaunt their power. Just because you’re in charge, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll have their respect - you’ll need to earn it through your actions.
Final Word on Managing Millennials
Millennials can sometimes get a bad rap – but they have so much to offer. They thrive on change, love a challenge, and are tech savvy, which makes them perfect for the modern work environment.
As a leader today, it’s important to embrace generational diversity in the workplace. Recognising the strengths and motivations of millennials and adapting your leadership style to suit is the key to a happy and productive team.
Would you like advice on recruiting and retaining millennials? Or are you a millennial who is looking for a position in a company that values your strengths and skill set? We’d love to help – get in touch with our team of recruitment consultants today!
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