Millennials, the group born between 1980 and 1995, are currently the largest generation in the American workforce and are projected to total more than 75% of the workforce by 2025. Management techniques created with older generations of workers in mind may no longer be effective when managing this group. Consider incorporating these attributes of mentoring and managing millennials into your employee management strategy.
According to the 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 70% of millennials prefer to work independently and collaborate digitally. This preference seems to have arisen from a cultural norm in which they are used to communicating instantly and constantly with their peer group through digital technology, such as text messages and social media. Millennials are accustomed to being able to obtain information in a self-serve manner, rather than having to call or e-mail someone or discuss it in a meeting. Successful managers, such as Eyal Gutentag, have taken a tech-forward approach to managing millennial employees that has capitalized on this need for instant and transparent communication.
Millennial employees want to feel trusted to carry out their duties without constant supervision. It is important that they feel like they can approach their manager without fear of intimidation, pressure or shaming tactics. Management needs to be empathetic towards the challenges workers face outside of work, rather than expecting employees to entirely keep their home life at home. It is important that employees feel like when things get tough, their managers will go to bat for them, rather than throwing them under the bus.
Because millennials have become accustomed to being able to access everything from their smartphones, laptops, and tablets, they have a mindset that they can and should be able to work from anywhere just as well as they can work in the office. Creating a flexible environment in which employees have the tools to complete their work outside of the office environment can not only make millennials easier to manage but reap benefits with other employees as well.
Millennials crave collaboration. As a mentor or manager of a millennial, it can be helpful to include projects that you can work on together so that you can provide instant advice and feedback. If working together in person is not practical, consider using digital collaboration tools.
One of the keys to successfully mentoring or managing a millennial is understanding what motivates them. Millennials are less motivated by financial incentives to stay in a job. Instead, they tend to prefer jobs that provide them with specific experiences they are seeking and if the job does not meet their expectations, they are likely to leave. Additionally, millennials tend to prefer to work for companies that they can personally identify with and feel like they are doing meaningful work. They also expect to be able to improve their job skills through the work they do and may leave positions that do not offer career growth.
While millennials appreciate the ability to work from home, they also require their employers to respect their work-life balance. They tend to prefer a work environment that offers flexible scheduling and is focused more on achieving results than on clocking in a specific number of hours every day. Work-from-home options, flexible time off or deadline-based scheduling may be more successful than a traditional 9-to-5 office format.
Millennials want to feel like they have a voice in their workplace. While it is perfectly fine to maintain your position of authority, you will have more success managing millennials if you seek their input before making decisions and keep an open mind to their ideas.
Millennials are very results-driven. They tend to thrive in environments where as long as they are producing good results, they are allowed to continue as they are, rather than ones where the focus is on playing by the rules. You may have more success with these employees if instead of focusing on exactly following the correct rules and procedures, you give them some autonomy and only correct them when they are not producing the results you need.
Millennials have different expectations of the workplace than many previous generations. However, many of the management techniques that work best will this group, will also prove beneficial to managing older workers who are adjusting to the modern workplace.