In the past couple of blogs we’ve looked at Baby Boomers and Generation Xers in the workplace and how to manage and work with them effectively. We round out this series with a look at Millennials, the youngest of our multi-generational workforce. This generation has grown up with the Internet and a proliferation of instant information and social connections. They are confident, social, and care about making an impact in the community.
Previous generations might argue that they are too confident, that they expect to achieve a higher level without “paying their dues.” But a recent New York Times article suggests that because of Millennials' confidence, quick learning ability and “nonstop exchange of information and opinions,” they are primed to drive a new wave of innovation.
If you are looking to attract, retain or collaborate effectively with Millennials, here are some tips:
Care about their personal and career goals. Millennials are motivated by managers who help connect their work to their personal and career goals. Understand what those goals are and give them assignments and opportunities that are directly related to them.
Coach and support them. Millennials value achievement. Identify both their strengths and development areas and provide one-on-one coaching and stretch opportunities to enhance their performance. Match Millennial new hires with a Baby Boomer or Gen X mentor or “buddy” to help them learn to navigate the system and develop business relationships. Provide structure – goals, deadlines, well-defined assignments and success factors.
Leverage their technical savvy. Millennials don’t like Managers who are threatened by their knowledge of and comfort with technology. Capitalize on their ability to quickly gather information and input via their social networking capabilities. Have them mentor less technically savvy employees to promote cross-generational collaboration and understanding.
Give them opportunities to volunteer in the community. Millennials are interested in contributing to their communities both in giving and in volunteering. According to the 2013 Millennial Impact Report, 83% of respondents made a gift to an organization in 2012. The report also showed that the top three reasons Millennials get involved are: 1) passion about the cause; 2) opportunity to meet people; 3) ability to apply their expertise.
Build their credibility. Don’t treat Millennials as if they are too young to be valuable. Use their capability to access and share information quickly. Give them opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills to a visible project or assignment. Give them frequent and productive feedback.
The NYT article quotes Mike Marasco, leader of a cross-generational mentoring program at Northwestern University: “Millennials work more closely together, leverage right- and left-brain skills, ask the right questions, learn faster and take risks previous generations resisted. They truly want to change the world and will use technology to do so.”
Till next time,