Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are people born between 1980 and 1995. In the United States, approximately 75 million people belong to this generation. They are known for being technologically savvy, social, optimistic, and good multitaskers, but they also have a bad reputation for being entitled and having a poor work ethic. In reality, Millennials are as diverse and complex as any other generation. If you're having trouble working with Millennials in your workplace, try talking to them about their values, letting them handle their own projects, and communicating openly.
Method 1 Relating to Their Goals
1. Recognize how Millennials want to balance their work and personal lives. Millennials, in general, do not want to postpone happiness in exchange for career advancement, and as a result, they are unwilling to sacrifice their personal lives for their professional lives.
This is not to say that they are unwilling to work hard; rather, Millennials will work extremely hard during their designated work hours, but they expect to have their "off" times (such as weekends and nights) free of work.
2. Examine how Millennials define productivity. In general, Millennials believe that productivity should not be measured by the number of hours worked, because someone can work for 8 hours and accomplish almost nothing of value to the company. Millennials, on the other hand, gauge their productivity by the quality of their work.
A Millennial worker, for example, may feel better having completed a large project in 6 hours than having spent an 8-hour day doing "busy work" or answering emails.
3. Give them credit for their efforts. Millennials are frequently stereotyped as “entitled” workers, and such a viewpoint can be difficult to debunk from the outside. In reality, however, Millennials simply want to feel like more than a "cog in a massive machine." Millennial workers, on the other hand, want to work on projects that are important to them, the company, or the world at large.
Give Millennials their own projects or a small stake in a larger project.
4. Provide meaningful work. Millennials are entering the workforce at a time when there are countless companies and newly-forming startup jobs available on a daily basis, so they don't see the need to stay at a company whose values do not align with their own. Concentrate on being ethical and fair, as well as developing a mission that works to make the world a better place.
This will benefit not only your Millennial employees, but all of your company's employees!
Method 2 Creating a Successful Workplace
1. Create a culture of collaboration in the workplace. Encourage employees to work in groups, discuss work with one another, and take short breaks together for coffee or a walk to foster a sense of community. Millennials prefer collaboration over competition, but they can also work well alone if supported by a collaborative work culture.
2. Allow for flexible working hours. One widely held misconception is that Millennials prefer to work fewer hours. This isn't entirely correct, but it is true that Millennials would like to be given the opportunity to be more flexible at work. However, this preference is not limited to Millennials; there are an equal number of non-Millennials who prefer flexible work hours!
Consider allowing your employees to arrive early and leave early, or to arrive late and stay an extra hour or two.
You could also use flexible work hours by setting aside a day for your employees to work from home.
3. Don't try to bribe them with bonuses. It's a common misconception that Millennials prefer companies that provide free breakfast or a gym membership. While these perks are great for any employee, Millennials have been shown to prefer things like an ethical workplace or a company that cares about the community.
Method 3 Communicating with Millennials
1. Experiment with responding quickly. Millennials will frequently seek advice or an opinion. Respond to emails as soon as possible, even if it's just to provide a brief response or to inform them that their question is part of a larger discussion you plan to have later in the day or workweek.
2. Set your expectations. Millennials' expectations may appear unreasonable or strange to you, but the first step in communicating with them is recognising that these expectations stem from pressures in their current lives. The best thing to do is talk to them and try to understand their expectations while also setting reasonable boundaries.
Paying off massive student loans, for example, or trying to find a place to live in increasingly unstable housing markets, can manifest themselves in the workplace as a desire to advance quickly.
Respond to such concerns by explaining that, while they may not be promoted within a month or become a Director within a year, there are opportunities for advancement.
3. Regularly provide feedback. You don't have to schedule a formal employee review every month, but you can provide small, informal responses on a weekly or even daily basis. Transparency is important to millennials, and letting them know what your expectations are (and how they're doing in relation to those expectations) will help them meet and even exceed those expectations.
4. Don't feel obligated to only give positive feedback. While Millennials value frequent praise and transparency, the praise does not have to be all positive. In general, a Millennial would prefer that you acknowledge their accomplishments (even if they are neutral) and then provide them with honest, precise feedback about what they have accomplished, even if that feedback is negative.
5. Create mentoring networks. Millennials are the most receptive to mentoring and coaching. They value advice from more "experienced" team members and appreciate having someone to talk to about work issues. A mentor should be someone who is willing to answer questions about the job and the company as a whole, and who isn't afraid to check in on a regular basis.
6. Make use of technology in your workplace. Integrate technology such as Slack or Skype to assist your employees in increasing their efficiency. These tools act as forces for collaboration and execution, and they can help reduce long meetings, excessive emailing, and other ineffective workplace habits.
Method 4 Connecting Across Generations
1. Recognize that many Millennial stereotypes are false. Despite stereotypes and common misconceptions, there are no real meaningful differences in the workplace between generations. Millennials, in fact, share many of the same career goals as any other generation.
2. Dispel the myth that Millennials change jobs at an abnormally high rate. Many people believe that Millennials move from job to job faster than the average worker. While Millennials are not as job-stuck as Boomers, the fact remains that Millennials tend to stay at one job longer than their Gen-X counterparts.
3. Assist in the fight against harmful Millennial stereotypes. Remember that no generation can be summed up in broad strokes. Just because you meet a lazy or ineffective Millennial worker does not imply that all Millennials are the same. Keep an open mind and remember that, in the end, Millennials are essentially the same as you!
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