By RedBalloon for Business

How to manage millennials at work

If there’s a shift happening in workplaces today, it’s the role employees are playing within a business. Where a decent salary and scheduled breaks were once sufficient to keep an employee from walking out the door, any manager serious about hiring the best — and having those individuals perform at their best — should already be realising the importance of valuing and recognising individual efforts. This can’t be truer than with the Gen Y, or Millennial, Generation.

Getting millennials to care

Today, if you want a Millennial employee to care about the work they are doing, you show them you value their contribution.

While studies show they have every intent to stick around for much longer than the 1-2 years they are accused of lasting with any one employer, that doesn’t mean they won’t walk out the door if they don’t find what they’re looking for with you. When you go a step beyond, and consider your hires as investments to the company’s overall growth and development, they’ll return that with great work, passion, enthusiasm, loyalty and motivation. Well, that’s what the management journals and research bodies are telling us, anyway.

Millennials need engagement!

Born anywhere between the early 1980s to the early 2000s, this is a generation of digital natives, who feel at home online creating and consuming content via web-based technology. These go-getters place a high importance on self-actualisation. Many aim to make their career and lifestyle one and the same – all the better if their careers follow altruistic endeavours.

Generation X, born anywhere between the mid-1960s to the late 1970s, are adaptable and resourceful – their problem-solving skills allow them to operate as collaborative colleagues in the workplace. Where Millennials were born into the digital and technological age, Gen X-ers grew with the advancements of technology. They embraced these changes and made them a part of their lives.

Incorporating Millennials into a workplace with Gen X colleagues, particularly if the hiring manager is from the Gen X group, means understanding how to recruit, lead and retain a Millennial. The act of employing a Millennial begins long before the job is advertised.

Are you managing Millennials? Then stop.

Before recruiting for a new role in your team, it’s important to understand the kind of leader your talent pool, made up of Millennials and Gen-Xers, responds to. This will enable any hiring manager to properly manage and nurture their staff, and bring out the best in each individual.

According to Rob Reutman’s article, This is How Millennials Want to be Managed, Millennials value feedback from those managing them.

Gen Yers want to know how they’re doing much more often—and the best leaders are finding ways to give it to them, through recognition at work, social media updates, peer evaluations or extensive mentorship programs.

Recognition of their successes, and support for further training, makes a Millennial feel valued. People leading Millennials in the workplace will bring out the best in them if they offer them more than one project to fulfil, allowing them to work collaboratively in a team and working with the technology available to them to execute their tasks.

Dr. David G. Javitch’s article Motivating Gen X, Gen Y Workers notes that Gen-Xers, like their Gen Y counterparts, also value feedback from their managers, but want to be given opportunities to make informed decisions in the workplace, too.

“Since this generation has become accustomed to “fending for themselves,” provide options–options for task selection, options for challenges, options to formulate new processes, and options to develop creative yet appropriate conclusions”, he notes.

Gen-Xers also work well with leaders who offer them room for growth by gaining new skills and providing movement within their role. Feedback Gen-Xers look for in their leaders are best given during mentorship sessions and arrangements.

Communicating with Millennials in the workplace

Millennials are both digital natives and, by and large, very much open to feedback and robust dialogue in the workplace. Their experience of technology and, in particular, social media, means that there should be no excuse for poor communication between staff members.

Social media is shifting the way we communicate with our colleagues. Using social media, therefore, as a way of providing regular feedback and readily accessible information, shows Millennials that transparency and open communication is valued in their workplace.

Millennials are keen to work collaboratively with their colleagues – it’s a way of developing their professional network and building meaningful friendships in the workplace. This also includes collaborating on ideas with colleagues who are senior to them. Communicating from the top level down and vice versa from the bottom up allows a Millennial access to different areas of the business and develops their knowledge of the company.

Millennials need recognition from their peers and their managers to understand how they are progressing within the business, and, overall, in their careers. Moving up the ranks is important to a Millennial (as it is to anyone of any generation), and when they are recognised for a job well done, they feel valued.

Do you have millennials in your workforce? Have you noticed a difference in the way they participate in the workplace? Do you change your leadership or communication styles to suit?

To find out more about how the RedBalloon for Business team can help you reward and recognise your people, contact us today.

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