Millennials – individuals now in their 20s and 30s – form a large percentage of the workforce. Their mindsets and needs often differ from the generation hiring and leading them. For example, millennials may choose flexibility over job security, fulfillment overcompensation, or work culture over standardized hours.
In order to keep this huge chunk of the workforce satisfied, management needs to evolve the ways in which modern-day business works. Here, we outline how organizations can improve handling their millennial employees, through more insightful processes and a deeper understanding of the millennial mindset.
1. Don’t set ranks, set an example
As climbing up the corporate becomes harder, young Millenials don’t see authority in the workplace the same way Gen X and baby boomers viewed it. The lines between management and subordinates are blurring and they’re not afraid to challenge superiors. This doesn’t go down well with old-fashioned bosses.
But millennials aren’t some new radicals looking to cause upheaval in your company. It’s more likely they’re just saying what other older employees are already thinking. Listening to their feedback and being open to constructive criticism and arguments can help improve conflict management.
2. Engage and communicate
According to a study by Gallup, 87% of employees across the world are not engaged. This crisis of disconnected, uninterested employees could be attributed to management not knowing how to relate to a younger, more communicative generation of staff who need interaction and fulfillment in order to stoke their interest in the work they’re doing.
Listening and providing feedback to staff is one of the key criteria for having them on the same page and working toward the same goals with enthusiasm. According to the Gallup study, a workforce that is highly engaged can outperform their co-workers by 147%. Often, communication from management to an employee is one-way. However, regular, candid feedback is imperative to lead managing millennials successfully.
3. Offer more than just employment
As mentioned above, millennials seek out more than just a 9-to-5 job that offers them a decent paycheck at the end of the month. This generation is looking for work with fulfillment and purpose; they want to feel (and know) that their contribution is making a difference, no matter how large or small.
In addition to ensuring your employees are appreciated and informed about exactly how their work is contributing to the company’s greater goals, empowering them with autonomy to explore and undertake their own passions and interests will also help them view you and the organization in a better light.
For example, having a volunteer program or encouraging participation in various social causes can help employees feel more connected to the human side of your company.
4. Make adjustments to the environment
Millennials do not want to be restrained by old fashioned work environments such as cubicles. A one-size-fits-all 9-to-5 approach to the workday is likely to underwhelm the young working crowd. Instead, a more energetic and intuitive approach to design and layout needs to be adopted.
Turn your office into a social space that promotes professional collaboration and personal interaction. By adopting an open office design with good quality and stylish furniture, you can nurture an environment that is uncluttered, open and adaptive to varied work styles. Seek out ergonomic office furniture to rent that will have your office looking great and keep your employees comfortable throughout the workday.
5. Ditch annual performance reviews
The once-a-year performance review is outdated for many reasons: employees feel the pressure to be at their peak for a few weeks before the review even if their year-long performance has been on the mark, and managers are taxed with rating many subordinates while tackling day to day operations. Yet most companies still stick with this outdated rating system. Millennials in particular, can feel stifled with these kinds of restrictive reviews.
The younger generation in the workforce puts great stock in a collaborative effort and ongoing improvements over the examination methodology used by older corporate systems. Regular interaction and feedback from superiors reduce the pressure of reviews. Monthly or bi-monthly one-on-one meetings with members of your team can help align each individual to their own and company goals, in addition to making them feel valued and appreciated.
In a nutshell, for modern businesses to thrive, they need to provide Millennials with a more flexible approach to the workplace – an interactive, collaborative environment that thrives on communication, transparency and building value for both the business and its staff.
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