With a bit of creativity and some help from experts like Millennial Whisperer Chris Tuff, leaders can learn to flex their management styles to embrace the millennial mindset and meet the needs of multiple generations. As members of Generation Z arrive in the workplace, managers are scratching their heads. What are Millennials looking for in this stage of their careers? How can employers integrate their needs with those of the next generation?
Managing multiple generations in the workplace is a challenge, and it has never been trickier than it is today. Some Baby Boomers are putting off retirement, and Generation X is trying hard to fill the shoes of those who have already left the workforce.
Millennials are still the largest working generation, and they currently fill a variety of leadership positions. They have transformed when and how work is done, sometimes in ways that still feel uncomfortable for traditionalists. We’ll cover the importance of embracing the Millennial mindset, understanding some of the common myths that come along with it, and how you can foster a strong sense of culture in your organization by doing so.
The media has been hard on Millennials, blaming them for everything from the “death” of broadcast television to “killing” the breakfast cereal industry. This generation has been assigned a long series of unflattering traits and characteristics. They are regularly described as entitled, immature, selfish, and disloyal.
“Millennials aren’t the problem. They just expose all the problems.” – Chris Tuff
The truth is that Millennials are none of these things – or at least, no more so than any other generation. Managers who buy into negative stereotypes are unlikely to integrate Millennials into the organization effectively. Instead, create a workplace culture that celebrates the contributions of Millennial employees. As the Chris Tuff says, “Millennials aren’t the problem. They just expose all the problems.”
Take note of the concerns these workers bring up, the millennial mindset can have great value. Chances are, they are issues that have been festering unresolved in your business for years. Consider this an opportunity to create a more employee-friendly workplace for all generations, which is sure to drive greater productivity and positively impact your bottom line.
Take Action: Offer ample opportunity for employees to provide feedback. Make space for them to offer solutions to the problems they have identified. Use a collaborative approach to fine-tune suggestions and keep an open mind about implementing changes.
One of the most startling differences between Millennials and previous generations is the ease with which Millennials transition to new jobs and new companies. It’s not that they are disloyal, exactly. The millennial mindset includes tremendous loyalty to organizations that treat them well. Millennials simply aren’t willing to give up friends and family or drop their personal passions to further their careers. They want to do both.
Millennials won’t stick around when the organizational culture is bleak. They won’t put up with unnecessary impediments to getting their job done efficiently and effectively. If you have too much red tape, offer too little autonomy, or have too many rules, Millennials may feel the push to move on to a company that offers flexibility and freedom.
Take Action: Engagement isn’t a one-time event; it’s an on-going element of organizational culture. Train employees thoroughly and give them frequent feedback, both positive and constructive. Your role is coach, not director, so stand aside and trust the millennial mindset to inspire them to use their knowledge, skills, and abilities to get the job done.
There is no way around incorporating technology into the workplace. It’s simply not practical to rely on paper correspondence and manual spreadsheets in today’s digital world. Nearly every organization has adopted these basics, but don’t stop there if you want to retain Millennials.
This generation, along with Generation Z, grew up with technology. They rely on automation and mobile devices for just about everything. The millennial mindset means they expect to connect with friends and family through social media. Additionally, they control their homes remotely, and shop for groceries using their favorite apps.
Millennials expect reasonable access to the technology that is relevant to their jobs. If there is a project management platform that would simplify collaboration or a system that would automate a manual process, make the investment. Nothing is more frustrating for digital natives than putting time and effort into activities that could be handled more efficiently with the right technology-based tools.
Take Action: Examine the tasks assigned to each position. Consider whether some could be made more efficient or effective through technology. Ask for suggestions and set aside resources so you can invest in the right technology-based tools.
Clearly, it’s important to embrace not only the millennial mindset in your workplace, but multiple generations as well. Millennials represent the largest portion of today’s workforce. Willingness to integrate some of their expectations, and those of future generations, is essential.
At Projections, we provide training services designed with not just Millennial workers, but all generations, in mind. We create custom video, web, and e-learning solutions to give your team the content they need in an engaging format. We would love to create a custom solution for you to help you become an employer of choice.
In over 25 years of helping companies connect with their employees, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.