The generation born between 1980 and the year 2000 may have a reputation for being lazy, entitled and hard to manage, but by 2025, millennials will make up at least 75 percent of the world’s workforce. Many companies already employ more millennials than they do gen-Xers or Baby Boomers. Chances are you’ve already faced some of the unique challenges that managing millennials can bring — and benefited from some of the unique skills the younger generation brings to the workplace.
Millennials are the first generation in history to grow up with loving, doting parents who awarded them a central place in their lives. They’re also the first generation to live in the interconnected, global society that the Internet has created. It shows. Millennials have a strong sense of self-worth; they’re comfortable with technology and they prefer to work in teams. Make the most of the millennials on your workforce, and open yourself up to their perspectives about collaboration, work-life balance, leadership, networking and purpose.
Millennials have grown up working in teams, and as adults, that’s how they function best in the workplace. Since childhood, they’ve been exposed to diverse groups of people and have become accustomed to considering others’ points of view. More so than past generations, millennials believe that a team of like-minded individuals working together can accomplish much more than a single person working alone.
Put this team spirit to work for your organization by giving the millennials on your workforce plenty of opportunities to collaborate. Whether it’s an important account or project, planning a company event or just organizing a company softball team, your millennial employees will be happy to oblige — and they might be able to teach your older employees a thing or two about teamwork themselves.
It’s not that the younger generation is lazy — it’s just that they have other things going on in their lives that are just as important to them, or even more important, than work. Technology has blurred the lines between work and play, to be sure, but millennials want work-life balance. Where previous generations may have put work first, the younger generation puts home, family and friends first. They also want to make time for a wide array of hobbies, interests and volunteer activities.
Younger workers want a great deal more scheduling flexibility than their predecessors. They may want to work nontraditional hours or work from home more often. They have a point — employees who enjoy scheduling flexibility are more productive, less likely to quit and more satisfied with their jobs and lives in general.
The doting parents of millennials have left them with a strong sense of self-worth and a belief in the worth of their own ideas and opinions. Millennials are willing to follow your example, but they also want your respect. Make the younger members of your team feel heard and their ideas and opinions valued. Keep them in the loop; millennials want to know what’s going on, and they want to see how their contribution is benefiting the company.
Millennials can teach you how to establish a give-and-take relationship with your employees, one in which both supervisor and subordinate have valuable skills and insights to impart. Take a few minutes each day to provide feedback and mentoring to your millennial employees, and give them the chance to share their own skills and expertise about technology, networking or the latest innovations in the field.
Millennials are using technology and the Internet to build networks around the globe. Your organization can take advantage of this interconnectedness to stay in close touch with traveling associates or connect with potential clients and customers in other cities, states or countries. Your younger employees’ networking expertise extends to social media; let them teach you the basics of Twitter, Facebook and other social networking platforms your business can benefit from.
Younger employees are less likely than members of previous generations to want to commit to a company or even to a boss — you have to reach them by giving them a sense of purpose. Millennials want to feel like they’re working for some greater good or common goal. With 81 percent of people aged 18 to 34 having donated goods, services or money in the past year, and 68 percent having participated in volunteer service, milliennials have a strong desire to get behind a cause. They want to grow and evolve as valued members of a team, and they want to be emotionally invested in what they’re doing at work. Your younger employees can help you create a company culture that will foster a sense of purpose for the whole team.
The millennial generation is quickly becoming the biggest portion of the global work force. Your younger employees have grown up in a very different world from that of their parents, and they have some unique perspectives and skills to bring to the table. When you encourage Millennial employees to share their ideas and skills, your entire organization can benefit.Back to blog list