What You Need to Know About Managing Millennials
Managing millennials might sound challenging. After all, they come with plenty of stereotypes, a participation trophy generation that expects a participation paycheck, regardless of quality of work. This perception may be intensified for those of you who live in resort towns or other areas with a heavy focus on recreation.
However, managing anyone, millennials or people born decades before, often involves the same kind of tact, compromise, and understanding. Granted, you may need to be a little extra understanding when the weather is just right and the fish are biting, but we’re hoping that Take My Shift can make that no-call, no-show problem a thing of the past for you. Helping businesses balance their own operational needs with the employees’ desire to live life to the fullest is exactly what TMS has been designed to do.
So, with that in mind, we want to focus on one of the most fun-loving, free-spirited generations to date: those who were born in the 1980s or 1990s. By now, they surely make up a large portion of your staff, and understanding their priorities and point of view will help you manage them more effectively (even during times of peak activity in your town). Keep in mind the following:
They want you to let go of preconceived notions.
Many people possess fixed ideas of millennials. Some assume they’re lazy or entitled or unwilling to work their way from the bottom to get to the top. Take these preconceived notions and dump them.
Millennials, like all of us, are individuals with their own goals, desires, and feelings. They have likes, dislikes, and personal hobbies, just like you. Don’t assume something about an employee just because of their age: if there’s one thing people can’t control, it’s the year they were born.
They appreciate when you speak their language.
You don’t need to sit your employee down for a little Snapchat or assign them tasks in tweets, but understand that millennials grew up in a different time than older generations, so it’s only natural that they view the world differently, too.
One way this manifests is through technology. No generation has ever relied on it as much; they think writing letters is akin to communication via carrier pigeon; they prefer social media over phone calls; and they constantly rely on GPS, refusing to use a paper map like someone from the olden days of 1996. In short, technology is a vital part of their lives. If you want to connect with your younger employees, make it a vital part of your business, as well.
They like to work in groups.
A study conducted by IBM found that the majority of millennials prefer to work in groups, believing they make better business decisions when taking into consideration a variety of opinions. This isn’t anything new: Generation Xers like to work in groups even more.
Along these lines, millennials and Generation Xers both believe in their boss’ ability to lead. Baby Boomers are typically more skeptical and distrusting, assuming management isn’t only checking their time sheets, but checking their Internet search history, too.
They want flexibility.
The nine-to-five, Monday-Friday workweek is dying, and for good reason: it’s not realistic. More companies now offer flexibility in an effort to restore the balance between having a job and having a life. Flex time, mental health days, and telecommuting aren’t only desired by millennials, but people of all generations.
The “work isn’t everything” ideal has proved effective in other nations. The citizens of Denmark are reportedly the happiest in the world. It’s no coincidence that, per CNN, Denmark’s average workweek is 33 hours and the country is well known for flexible schedules and ample vacation time.
They are motivated differently.
The lure of money and a penthouse office may entice some employees, but career success, at least not in the typical sense, isn’t motivational for the average millennial. Instead, they’re motivated by the chance to give back, to create, and to enjoy their lives as a whole.
If you want to inspire a millennial, abandon the rhetoric of “work sixty hours, earn six figures” and think outside the cubicle. Provide an environment that fosters creativity, encourages the pursuit of happiness, and taps into your employee’s passion, and try to accept that there will be times when their personal interests will not be in perfect alignment with your business needs. Share your company’s vision and invite them to give feedback. They’re full of ideas, some of them extraordinary, and perhaps you could learn a thing or two from them about letting your hair down every once in a while.
Photo courtesy of Lizi Andersen Photography