Millennials. They are different from Generation X, Generation Y, and every other generation thus far in terms of how they live their work lives. This so-called “millennials” generation has truly started to leave their mark on the world, and as this generation continues to move higher up in the corporate ladder, certain approaches to managing them have to be taken in order to harness their abilities.
Leading millennials in the workplace is tricky, but myself and the team at Leadfully believe that we can teach you how to lead millennials in your business and how to take full advantage of their abilities and harness their talents.
The reason that learning these skills is so important is because millennials can no longer be considered an annoying, entitled generation that we don’t have to deal with. They are becoming more financially secure, starting families, and rising up the leadership ladder at companies everywhere. Learning how to manage millennials will soon be considered a must, as they will become a much larger portion of the workplace with much more influence over many businesses.
Firstly, we should take a look at the qualities of millennials. Obviously, not all people of a generation are the same, but there are qualities that make millennials unique inside the workplace.
Qualities of Millennials:
Millennials are very independent. They want to do good work. They are driven to put in good work mostly for themselves and for the advancement of their own careers. They don’t need to rely on a team to work well. Millennials are very loyal to various ideas and causes. However, they are not loyal to any specific companies. If they feel that their career will be furthered outside of a company, they will be less apprehensive to leave than previous generations. Finding a job where they can be independent and thrive is very important to the millennial generation.
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Millennials also expect to have a certain amount of work-life permeability, and they want to be able to express themselves as individuals at work. Some may call it entitlement, but millennials believe that when they are hired, they should be treated as an individual person with unique qualities, rather than a worker hired to fulfill various tasks. They expect their personal lives, personalities, and preferences to be allowed and even encouraged by their employers. However, if offered this, millennials will make their work a part of their life and commit themselves to doing a great job.
Millennials truly believe that they have the potential to grow as employees and eventually become leaders. This ambition fits with the general narrative of the generation being independent and individualistic. If you give them your trust, they will act like leaders and will grow within the company. This makes them very optimistic and makes them want their employers to recognize their accomplishments and groom them for leadership. Feeding their confidence is critical.
Now that we know what separates millennials from people of other generations, I have some advice for small businesses and startups that are looking to take advantage of the great talent found in the generation.
How to Lead Millennials:
Communication is key. This statement is true in many things, and managing millennials is no different. I believe that if you offer your millennial employees clear expectations that are met with constant feedback, you will see them thrive. Your communication should be authentic, so that the millennial feels that they are valued and that their work has meaning. If an open line of communication is created between you and your millennial employee, the gap between you is closed and they will feel they are closer to being leaders themselves, which is another key motivational factor for millennials. Make no mistake, millennials should be thought of as talents that you need to attract. As previously mentioned, millennials are not loyal to companies, but rather ideals and objectives. If you frame your company as striving towards an ideal, your company will be more attractive to the millennials that can be real talents for you, rather than just workers.
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Professionalism’s definition has remained rather stagnant for a long time. However, millennials bring with them a different sort of professionalism. One that may even seem unprofessional to many. This new definition of professionalism will allow millennials to have a more flexible schedule and deadlines in order to get the best work out of them as an individual. A millennial arriving late and/or leaving early does not necessarily mean they are not putting in effort. Instead, they are offering accountability in exchange for flexibility.
No matter how new of an employee they may be, millennials want to be groomed for leadership. Allowing them a potential path, even if its not short, to a leadership position incentivizes them to put in good work and be professional. Even more importantly, you should give them your trust. When they have your trust, the quality in millennials that most people would call “entitlement” turns into optimism. These qualities are two sides of the same coin, and having the coin on the side you want it to be on can be critical to your millennial employee’s success.
Millennials and the generations that follow it are becoming a larger percentage of the workforce and will enter more leadership positions as time goes on. Due to the fact that millennials strongly attach themselves to their beliefs and their lifestyles, businesses must learn to adapt to millennials, and not the other way around. These changes to how businesses manage its employees are different from the current norms, but they will give millennials the ability to thrive and produce excellent work.
A new mindset towards millennials will be required more and more as time goes on.
Millennials are, for better or worse, a different breed. They have unique qualities unlike generations before them, and learning these qualities and how to take advantage of them can be critical to your business. Using these strategies will help your company attract, retain, and nurture talent within the millennial generation. Learn more about millennials and coding here.