Thirty-five percent of the U.S. labor pool is now dominated by Millennials, dethroning the fabled Generation X and the Baby Boomers. With the rise of the tech-savvy generation in the workforce, the need to adopt management styles tailored for them is deemed essential.
Millennials are a completely different breed of employees. Companies must know what makes them excel and what drives them out the door. Luckily, we rounded up four strategies to help employers and leaders lead Millennials more effectively.
Don’t Tie Them Down to One Place
No Millennial takes pleasure in being tied to an office chair from sunup to sundown.
Flexibility is like a big diamond ring to young professionals. This is a generation that thrives in a flexible environment. Gone are the days when following a strict office schedule was the sole definition of “having a job.”
For Millennials to function at their very best, provide them with ample opportunities to achieve a healthy work-life balance. In fact, according to research conducted by Bentley University, 77% of the Millennials said a flexible schedule increased their productivity levels as opposed to a traditional arrangement. This is because the young generation follows a work ethic anchored on the motto “work smarter, not harder.”
More so, with more time to spend away from their computer screens, this reduces incidents of catastrophic burnout. If they could get a job done at a specific amount of time outside office premises, they could also allocate their time for other enriching pursuits.
The inclination to a looser setup is due to the rise of technology, providing Millennials a convenient way to perform their duties outside their workplace. Since they can partly accomplish their tasks at home, they find no need to clock in every day at the office.
Treat Them Like an Investment
Millennials are difficult to please. Almost 29% of employees from this generation were reported to be “less engaged” in their work. This explains the tendency of the young working class to hop from one job to another.
However, Millennials become more engaged when companies offer development programs. In fact, almost 87% of Millennials value career growth. They are not entirely wrapped up in the idea of getting paid. Millennials are motivated to work for career advancement and personal growth.
Companies should prioritize making their job an enriching experience, not just a routine of accomplishing designated tasks.
Provide a structured professional program that could help refine their skillset. Exposing them to workshops and training is a great way to make them feel you’re concerned with their overall development as an employee.
These programs will also be beneficial to the company since they can apply the knowledge they acquire to their line of work. At the end of the day, Millennials want their employers to believe they are worth investing in, and later on, they will prove just that.
Refrain from Towering over Them
The young generation does not believe in the traditional play of power inside the workforce. Unlike the previous generations, they don’t enjoy leaders’ typical scare tactics to exact power over them.
Millennials thrive in an encouraging and constructive environment. They look to you for advice the same way they seek advice from legal professionals.
They look for a mentor and not a boss, someone who can guide them to improve and not throw heaps of paper at them when they make a mistake. It’s not that they’re too sensitive; Millennials just don’t agree with leadership strategies from the Boomers’ playbook.
Trying hard to impose your authority is a futile attempt to make Millennials follow. They respond to leaders who are warm, approachable, constructive, and genuine. Millennials prefer a collaborative working style, where there’s no need to prove who’s the boss.
Give Them a Little Credit
Millennials need feedback from their leaders because it serves as an assessment of their performance at work. Keeping them in the dark would only make it difficult for them to make adjustments and improvements.
Aside from that, they need one more thing. Millennials are described as a generation in need of validation. Well, this is true because Millennials value positive feedback from their mentors.
Naturally, they want their hard work to be recognized or at least acknowledged. It’s a sign they’re making valuable contributions for the company. Studies show that employees performed better when given positive feedback. In psychology, this is called positive reinforcement, which is a tool used to achieve the desired behavior from a person. Suffice to say, a pat on the back every once in a while is a good fuel for Millennials.
Recognition in the form of verbal dialogue, email correspondence, or sticky note writings are ways to boost their morale. The rule is to make it meaningful and specific—letting them know exactly what they’re doing right.
Overall, effectively managing a team of Millennials is a matter of developing a deeper understanding of who they are and making them feel like they are valuable components of the company’s success.